Government is not aware of the capabilities of local Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies despite having a full ICT ministry, a senior official in the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) has said.

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Mary Mubi, who is being reassigned from the OPC, where she was heading government’s ease-of-doing business drive, said ICT companies should brief government on their capabilities so that they could be considered as government moves to roll out e-voting ahead of the 2023 general elections.

In an email response to Zimbabwe Information and Communication Technologies (ZICT), which accused government of throwing indigenisation out of the window by engaging a company from Estonia, NetGroup Estonia, to develop and implement the proposed e-voting system, Mubi said government could be unaware of their capabilities.

“Have you engaged the relevant government agency on the capabilities of local or Diaspora companies to offer the same technology that is being offered by the Estonians?

I think it’s important for local ICT companies to regularly brief government on local capacities so that we do not look for ICT solutions outside the country, this makes business sense and is part of your social corporate responsibility,” Mubi said in her response.

She called on ZICT to establish a link between local and Diaspora companies so that government is well-informed when sourcing new technologies.

“I think a link between local and Diaspora companies in tendering for projects would be of interest, as ICT solutions always have to be tailor-made to given situations, but the link with Zimbabwe Diaspora companies would ensure that we are getting cutting-edge technologies.

As you know, I am in the midst of being reassigned, but will ensure that I find out more about the issues you raise,” she said.

Elections watchdog Elections Resource Centre (ERC) has already warned government through the Justice ministry against rushing to implement the e-voting platform without addressing key electoral reforms.

“The introduction of new technology in elections must, therefore, be accompanied by evidenced and sincere efforts aimed at building public and election stakeholders’ confidence in elections and election authorities alike.

The downside of introducing new technology in elections where confidence in the election management is low is that such confidence could be further eroded,” ERC said.

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