A Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) sanctioned survey has found the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) as the most open institution in Zimbabwe while Chitungwiza Municipality is cited as the most secretive organisation.
The media lobby has been conducting research and studies since 2009 to establish the difficulty with which citizens in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) can access public information.
“EMA was assessed as the most open institution after being assessed as being active on social media and maintaining a ‘partially’ up to date website.
“Although the institution was unable to provide information that had been requested, they explained their reasons,” said the report.
According to the survey outcome, Chitungwiza Municipality did not respond to the requests for information.
“A senior official stated that they did not receive the request and recommended that the requests be resubmitted through email,” said the report.
Other organisations that were surveyed are Chipinge Rural District Council, Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Mutare City Council and Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council.
Some of the organisations which had been initially targeted for the survey were left out due to Covid-19 restrictions and limited timeframe.
The study is also part of commemorations for the International Day for Universal Access to Information which is marked every year on 28 September.
It also based on the findings of assessments on whether public institutions proactively make relevant information available online in the form of websites or social media accounts.
The study further evaluates to what degree information is made available to citizens upon request.
Similar studies were also conducted in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia.