Refresher Training For Gov’t Communicators An Astute Lead By Minister Nabakooba

By Kungu Al-mahadi Adam

Hon Judith Nabakooba, Minister of ICT and National Guidance.

Minister Judith Nabakooba’s constant guidance to the nation has kept the country together amid threats of a possible division as well as saving the masses from being hit hard by the deadly COVID19 pandemic.

Important note

This week, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Judith Nabakooba announced that she and her ministry have organized a two weeks’ retreat for all government communications and public relations officers.

As a public relations professional and one who has always advocated for reorganizing and retooling of Uganda government communications officers, I found this to be a long awaited dream come true.

The retreat will take place from the 16th to 28th of May 2021 at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi “with the intention of strengthening the Government communication function through sharing of knowledge and imparting of practical skills.”

For starters government has hundreds of communications officers from ministries, local government, authorities, agencies, etcetera.

I have however argued that most of these officers are either in slumber or simply ignorant about what to do. This is rooted from how they continue to preside over institutions whose images are questionable, to failure to adopt the use of modern communication technologies like the internet.

Recently, I visited websites and social media platforms of more than 50 districts in Uganda and found no single update in the last six months. This is so dangerous to the public and government itself.

Information is a public good. A lot is done but nothing is communicated. I know of a neighboring country which has invested so much in retooling, empowering and reorganizing her communication officers and results are already visible. These, deliberately post, share and retweet any government communication even when it is not from their docket so long as it is copied from the mother entity thus giving it wide circulation.

When the President makes a national address, all social media platforms of government agencies should literally publicize his communication especially that in their line, something that is not the case here.

Public relations officers must be known and visible to public. They have to explain developments in their respective dockets but this is not happening. How many of them in the ministries or districts come to both social and mainstream media to update or explain to the public what transpires in their dockets.

I have personally invited a number of them to talkshows on radio and TV at no cost but they turn down the invitation perhaps because they don’t know what to say.

Many district officials including RDCs, LC V Chairpersons, DEOs conduct many activities on a daily but they go unknown to the people in the district – no updates on social media and website, no press releases, no nothing.

When it comes to public relations and strategic communication, the country’s minister of ICT and National Guidance, Judith Nabakooba, never disappoints. Her calm character, knowledge and articulacy have always pit her as an exceptional communications officer who is always up for task whenever need arises.

A journalist, Nabakooba will remain in the country’s history books for meticulously speaking for Uganda Police Force amid horrible waves of policing and security concerns until recently when she joined parliament and later appointed Minister.

Because she replaced Frank Tumwebaze, an aggressive and combative character, and since she is this calm and soft-spoken individual, Nabakooba was despised by many people even within government who thought that only a person with Tumwebaze’s virtues can manage the ICT Ministry.

To the contrary, the outgoing Mityana district member of parliament has since proved to be that one person government needed as a link to the public. She has lived to outshine many of his predecessors. Nabakooba’s commitment and dedication towards her job and serving Uganda is unmatched, one that is envied.

Nabakooba who is by the way always available for engagement with the public through the media, has successfully guided the people of Uganda and provided hope. Her efforts have kept Uganda together even in the middle of an election widely anticipated that was going leave the country in pieces.

The same has as well saved the country from being hit hard by the deadly global pandemic of COVID19 as it is the case in many countries in the world.

So, it didn’t come as a surprise to me, that she realized that something has got to be done to improve government communication.

This retreat, I anticipate will reduce mistakes and improve productivity of these PR officers as well as offering an effective warmup to those who had taken a break.

It will as well keep them on the same page in regards to government’s PR strategy and making them understand that learning is part of the culture.

I also believe that this platform will help the officers remember important but seldom-used information and learn to utilize it as well as identifying knowledge gaps and training needs.

This is yet another masterpiece and wise strategy by Hon Judith Nabakooba and the Ministry of ICT.

The Writer is a Ugandan Journalist with passion for current African Affairs.

Author: adamkungu

Ugandan Journalist with passion for African affairs| Expert on Somalia| Former Talkshow host on Top TV and Radio| Talkshow Host Baba TV and Radio 4.

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