Malawi government ICT under siege

There is a general outcry in ministries and departments that government Information, Communication and Technology (ICT)  is pathetic.

A leaked document to Nyasa Times indicates that the main cause of wretched ICT in government is because of poor human resource allocation.

Government advertised some vacancies in the ICT department and they ranged from; from Grade K (Programmer) up to Chief Systems Analyst/Programmer (Grade F/P5), including those based at NACIT, DISTMS and in Ministries/Departments.

Discontent

While Government has advertised vacancies for Government ICT, internal employees are posting comments on their forum Civoict which are showing discontent towards the way the ICT leadership is conducting its activities.

Chief Secretary Hawa Ndilowe in the midle as E government PS Chikankheni looks on at ICT week exhbition

Chief Secretary Hawa Ndilowe in the midle as E government PS Chikankheni looks on at ICT week exhbition

One of the employees asked why the position of Principal Systems Analyst qualification requirement is diploma. She wanted a clarification if the authorities had made mistakes.

Document

Our source said that government is using a document which was released in 2006, called “Career Path for ICT officers in Civil Service” in which a diploma is equaled to a degree by looking at the number of years of experiences each is attached to.

“How many of us are aware of the 2006 document ‘Career Path for ICT officers in the Civil Service’? According to me, equating an Advanced Diploma to a Degree is very wrong and an insult considering the time and effort one goes through to acquire a Degree”, complained one lady on Civoict (name withheld).

And another one posted that, “the document is obsolete, and there are many gaps to amend to suit the current ICT demand”.

Another posting read; “From the advert, it is really interesting to note that an Advanced Diploma is enough to be the Deputy Principal of NACIT, a College which is offering honors degrees”.

Attempts to speak to the Principal Secretary for E-Government, Olive Chikankheni proved futile as her mobile phone went unanswered.

However, Nyasa Times managed to speak to the Assistant Director (MISTMS), Grace Hiwa who said  they (ICT department) have a forum where several issues are discussed and recruitment was one of them.

Hiwa said that the whole process for recruitment is done by the civil service commission, Human Resource and OPC, and one of the posts advertised was grade J and long serving officers with advanced diploma were told to apply together with graduates.

All the same, employees felt that leadership was doing this deliberately to frustrate graduates, because most of the leaders do not have degrees hence creating spaces for themselves and yet there is nothing tangible coming from them as far as ICT is concerned.

“Sometimes people become frustrated when there is a long break in advertising these posts, it was just a misunderstanding and it has now been cleared”, said G Hiwa.

“I think it’s high time those heading ICT in Malawi back the ICT unit that’s why it’s always disregarded in many government departments as one unit that is not essential while it’s the Unit that is very vital in government, companies even in government for all processes to come together and function as they are expected to is because of ICT. We too deserve to be treated as professionals and for this to start lies in the hands of ICT leadership”, bemoaned one ICT employee on Civoict.

Article

On January 25, Nyasa Times published an article in which information minister Moses Kunkuyu said that China will help Malawi to develop ICT sector for economic recovery, targeting public ICT revival and to start doing things in modern ways.

Many ICT employees queried government to be mindful when choosing people to get trained by the Chinese.

Ironically, the PS for this ruined department was Hawa Ndilowe who is now chief secretary,

Ndilowe is on record saying ICT could improve people’s welfare as a catalyst for economic development of the country.

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