Blantyre. Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology, Mark Botomani has urged all reporters in the ministry to restrain from meddling in politics while in the line of their duties.

Botomani made the call on Wednesday during his familiarization tour at a meeting held at the Regional Information Office for the South in Blantyre.

He said any reporter found playing double standards in the department shall be deemed a politician and relieved of his or her duties to pave way for them to concentrate on the political path they have chosen.

“The Department of Information is very sensitive and requires complete dedication, hard work, integrity and loyalty while ensuring an efficient and effective delivery of public services,” said Botomani.

Botomani, however, commended the Southern Region Office for the remarkable work it is doing in the ministry despite operating under ‘very poor circumstances.’

“Let me appreciate the role that the Regional Information Office [South] plays in covering up the ministry during impromptu assignments whenever called upon as well us covering VVIP (very very important) functions even at short notice, this is commendable,” he said.

Botomani pledged to do whatever possible within his capacity to help raise resources to ensure sustained productivity in the department.

The minister also urged the information officers to try their best to look presentable at all times despite the challenges they face, saying they represent government.

However, despite the commendable work by the department, members raised a number of concerns that hinder delivery of good quality public service.

Among other issues raised were: mobility constraints as the department in the region has one vehicle to cater for all the 13 districts in the Southern Region; high vacancy rate, unavailability of equipment and low funding levels to the department.

Chief Director in the ministry, Francis Bisika, acknowledged the ministry being haunted by some information and communication technology (ICT) deficits, assuring, however, that plans are in the pipeline to digitize operations of the department.

“Let me admit that it is pathetic that as ministry responsible for promoting ICT, we have not done enough but plans are underway to revive the sector by modern and advanced gadgets that should stand the taste of time,” Bisika said.   

Speaking earlier, Regional Information Officer for the South, Arnold Namanja commended the minister for the visit, saying it was an honor and an assurance that some of the challenges faced by the department would be addressed.

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