• Access to information is a very basic practical matter that should not be complicated and made to appear like a ghost.
• The benefits that accrue through information sharing far outweigh holding onto information, and especially in this era of heightened misinformation and propaganda.
Clear, timely and continuous information flow to the public is a critical aspect of governance anchored in the Constitution under various articles and is documented as best practice.
The Government, and by extension, public institutions should adopt information sharing and pro-active disclosure of information primarily because of the great benefits associated with access to information in decision making and participation in national issues.
Access to information is a very basic practical matter that should not be complicated and made to appear like a ghost.
Often times, citizens need information on investment opportunities, policy directions, early warnings, weather and climate and overall government budgets and plans that would enable them make decisions.
The benefits that accrue through information sharing far outweigh holding onto information, and especially in this era of heightened misinformation and propaganda.
The government has already indicated it's facing challenges than ever before and this will need concerted efforts, joint approach and undivided attention from citizens to resolve the underlying issues.
For this matter, credible and timely information is central to managers including those in government as provided for by Articles 33, 34 and 35.
Kenya is a signatory to the Open Government Partnership and has many times indicated its commitment to open governance.
There is always a big burden on the government and public officers as duty bearers to supply information - obviously aware of the limitations on the right to information - than on citizens and the media to demand for information held on behalf of the public.
This calls for a serious look at government communication and the place of public communication officers in the government.
At one stage, government communication had become so scattered, fragmented and privatised to a level that getting official communication was impossible.
The same fragmented approach is replicated at the county governments, directors of governors' press offices, directors of communication officers, Public Relations Officers, and a host of other players.
Focus and strategy should be put in place to differentiate political party information and government information. The Government voice especially on what it’s doing, policy direction and position on matters must stand out and be institutionalised.
The next big thing and as the President rightly said, is to undertake a comprehensive orientation exercise for the various high level government appointees, especially those from outside civil service on policy and procedures of handling government and national issues.
We must revisit that government policy where once a person is appointed to a senior position, it is mandatory that they attend a course at the Kenya School of Government on protocol, etiquette, report and minutes writing, table manners, presentation and communication skills.
All the cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries, directors, ambassadors, commissioners, board members, task force members, special advisors, aides and related appointees of the government or the President must undergo the orientation.
It is not a punishment but to assist them understand and appreciate protocol and diplomacy which are essential tools in public offices.
Within the Media, the Presidency’s itinerary should come from State House and not from his aides for authenticity, protocol and security.
Institutions should not include the President’s name or photo in their advertisements or promotional materials. In fact, even after confirming attendance, the programme should be made in such a way that it contains only the title and not the minute details of who will speak.
Lack of official channels of communication by government is a recipe for consistent protocol goofs, conflicting information from and about the government, inadequate communication within and without government, slow flow of communication and will generally lead to projection of the government in bad image.
Times are changing and the changed environment calls for new ways of doing business.