PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa yesterday warned ministers, regional commissioners, district commissioners and other senior government officers against casually assigning private individuals to undertake media assignments relating to different official activities they were undertaking.
The premier sounded the warning here as he opened the 15th working session of the Tanzania Association of Government Communications Officers (TAGCO).
He said all public communication matters should be handled by qualified public communications officers who are well trained and trusted to handle the tasks and cautioned the government officers against abusing them.
“From today onwards, ministers, regional commissioners and other top public officials should fully utilise government information officers who are employed to carry out duties related to communicating government related information and not otherwise,” warned the PM.
However, he said media tasks should by and large be manned by qualified personnel whether they were working in the public or private sector since the fraternity was very sensitive for enhancing peace and security of the country.
Mr Majaliwa seconded the request submitted to him by both the information officers and members of the media in general to be supported to carry out their duties effectively but challenged them to observe their ethics even if they were facing some challenges in carrying out their duties.
Government information and communication officers were crucial in disseminating information to the public, the premier reiterated, tasking them to remain innovative and creative while communicating different strategic government programmes.
He asked them to embrace patriotism, safeguard the government’s economic interests, national cultures and values against sabotages from some foreign media propaganda as evidenced in the recent past.
“So you must avoid circulating information that fans hatred and divisions but remain patriotic in supporting the government’s agenda on curbing corruption and misappropriation of public resources among others,” he remarked.
The prime minister said he was privileged to address the delegates whose duties were critical, especially now that the fifth phase government had embarked on its fourth year in office, and looking forward to implementing a number of crucial development programmes.
He said the media and government communications officers were obliged to deliver to the expectations of the public while observing key issues of national interests, mentioning them as peace and security, the industrialisation agenda and preservation of Tanzanian cultures and values.
Mr Majaliwa tasked the Information Services Department in collaboration with the parent ministry to effectively regulate the flow of public information and media sector to ensure that they perform their duties according to the prevailing laws and regulations.
Earlier, the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, said the five-day working session would empower the government communications officers with additional skills to perform as government communications strategists.
He noted, however, there were a few communications officers with questionable performance, warning them to reform in conducting their duties, particularly in releasing information to the public.
“You should be good and strategic communicators, by using professional and proper language, since you act as government ambassadors in effectively communicating its activities,” said the minister.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ms Suzan Mlawi, said about ten topics would be covered during the session which will prepare the delegates to face crucial assignments ahead, including the local government elections and general elections slated for next year.
TAGCO chairperson Pascal Shelutete thanked the PM for officiating at their crucial meeting, saying it was the first time ever for a top government leader like him to attend the association’s meeting.
Other speakers included the Mwanza Regional Commissioner, Mr John Mongela and CCM National Publicity Secretary Mr Humphrey Polepole, who said right information to the public was key in their implementation of the Party’s 2015 elections manifesto.