Jubilee's digital successes and failures - Daily Nation

Jubilee government rates its digital performance

Wednesday December 24 2014

Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir (left)

Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir (left) with Dennis Itumbi, the Director of Digital Communication in the Office of the President during the #GOKInteracts session on Energy on October 16, 2014. PHOTO | DPPS 

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President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government has taken stock of its performance in plans to digitize its operations.

The Director of Digital Communication in the Office of the President Dennis Itumbi on Wednesday released the list titled “Digital Reflections of 2014.”

He listed government websites, launch of free Wi-Fi in Nakuru town and the creation of an anti-corruption portal as the digital failures by the Jubilee government.

Mr Itumbi admitted that government websites are poorly constructed and “comparable to the cover page of ‘Hello Children’ that great and famous book that was the guidebook as we learnt English in Lower Primary.”

He criticised the entire government digital infrastructure accusing departments of failing to upgrade their websites and lacking content that is helpful to users.

“We have developed very poor websites. Kenya has great talent on website construction, but that unfortunately is not reflected on public websites.

“Why should a Ministry of Health website tell us about Mission and Vision of the ministry instead of what to do in case Polio strikes. The hospitals with dialysis machines,” he posted on his blog Wednesday.

A screenshot of the Ministry of Health website.

A screenshot of the Ministry of Health website. PHOTO | GRAPHICS

Mr Itumbi said the ministry of Energy website does not have information on oil discovery, wind energy sites that perhaps, could guide investors.

“Our websites appear like large policy papers as opposed to functional interactive offices with ability to perform multiple jobs,” he said.

Mr Itumbi, however, did not state initiatives his office has taken to help ministries upgrade the websites.

He also said the anti-corruption portal was not operating as it should be.

He said the digital team has been focusing on technology to perfect the portal and failed to give due attention to investigations and reporting.

“The President (Uhuru Kenyatta) takes the Anti-Corruption Portal very seriously, it is actually integrated into a screen in his office and as soon as a report gets in on the online back end it also lands as a word or excel document in his office,” he said.

He said the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission will be involved to help investigate cases posted on the portal.

On launch of free Wi-Fi in Nakuru, Mr Itumbi said the project had problems which are being fixed.

He said the digital department of the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit together with the Nakuru County Government, Liquid Telekom and InfoNet has been running tests in the last two months to ensure residents get uninterrupted internet connection.

He said the free Wi-Fi project will be re-launched early 2015.

On successes, Mr Itumbi said the Government was able to interact with Kenyans on social media.

Under the #GOKInteracts hashtag, Deputy President William Ruto and some Cabinet Secretaries were able to answer questions by Kenyans posted on social media.

“A lot more can be done in the digital field and we have barely scratched the surface,” he said.

Another success listed by Mr Itumbi is the establishment of ‘Sauti Yetu’, an Android application used to report complaints by Kenyans, especially those in rural areas.

He named ‘Ubunifu’, an initiative that led to a meeting of African innovators at a Youth Innovation Camp held in Nairobi, as another digital success by the Government.