Former Star editor David Makali has been appointed to chair a taskforce that has been tasked with improving government information and public communications functions to align them with emerging public sector dynamics and expectations.
Others tapped by Information and Communications Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru to sit in the team are Oxygene PR firm partner Alfred Nganga, Royal Media Services journalist Robin Njogu, Public Relations Society of Kenya Secretary General Jane Gitau, Communication Management Specialist Ruth Musembi, Multimedia University of Kenya don Prof Murej Mak’Ochieng and Head of the Department of Communication Studies at Moi University Abraham Mulwo.
Others are Takaful Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager Umi Wabomba, Public Service Commission Director of Communications Brown Kutswa, Kenya Wildlife Service Corporate Communications Manager Paul Udoto, Rift Valley Railways Director of External Affairs Cosma Gatere, Head of Corporate Communications at Insurance Regulatory Authority Noella Mutanda, Director of Information Gwaro Ogaro, Acting Head of the Department of Public Communications Eunice Muthamia and PR and communications practitioner Mbugua Njoroge.
The team will study and review existing policies and laws on public communication and advise as to their appropriateness and consistency with constitutional requirements, national goals and aspirations, emerging socio-economic trends and advances in information, communication and technology.
It will also identify and review any gaps and inadequacies in staffing levels in public communication offices in ministries/departments/agencies and county information offices that hinder effective articulation of the government agenda.
The taskforce has been asked to make recommendations on how to revamp and strengthen the institutional and operational base of public communications and information functions at the ministries/departments/agencies and counties.
The formation of the taskforce comes at a time the government is on the spotlight for its slow pace in implementing the constitutional requirement on access to information.
Article 35 of the 2010 Constitution provides that every citizen has the right to access information held by the State or by another person, which is required for the exercise or protection of another right.
The provision is actualised by the Access to Information Act 2016.
Kennedy Buhere, Augustus Munywoki, Josephine Kinuthia and Charity Kagiri will serve as the taskforce’s joint secretaries.