Mousaion - Volume 30, Issue 2, 2012
Volumes & issues
Volume 30, Issue 2, 2012
Author Stephen M. MutulaSource: Mousaion 30, pp 5 –23 (2012)More Less
The annual UN e-government surveys have consistently indicated that sub-Saharan African countries are still lagging behind their counterparts in the developed and transitional economies with regard to the implementation of e-government. This article discusses various e-government strategies and best practices being implemented around the world and the implications for sub-Saharan Africa. In view of the fact that e-government initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa are subject to different administrative contexts and rationalities, this study argues that approaches should be promoted which engender a sharing in global best practices, with due regard for local contexts. Using the annual UN e-government surveys as a theoretical framework, and based on an analysis of available e-government literature, this article sought to determine why sub-Saharan African countries are lagging behind in e-government initiatives. The following specific research questions are addressed: What e-government strategies and best practices are being applied in the developed world? What is the status of e-government in sub-Saharan Africa? What barriers are impacting on sub-Saharan Africa's quest for competitive e-governance? And finally, how can sub-Saharan Africa overcome these barriers to improve its global ranking in e-government? The findings showed that, although sub-Saharan Africa has largely adopted the e-government implementation strategies of the developed world, this has not propelled the continent to become more competitive in its global ranking compared to its counterparts in Europe, North America and Asia. These countries have all prioritised initiatives, such as the creation of enabling strategies within the parameters of the local context, alternative public information delivery methods, a focus on a common set of goals for government agencies, enlisting senior management support, ensuring supportive telecommunications policies, promoting citizen involvement in policy formulation and the alignment of technology with development programmes. Some major challenges facing the sub-continent include, for example, the improvement of overall literacy, the development of a reliable telecommunications infrastructure and the commitment of governments to genuine transformation directed at more transparent and citizen-centred governance. Despite the fact that e-government in sub-Saharan Africa is still lagging behind relative to the rest of the world, there is optimism that things are turning around for the better. Since 2008, several factors, such as the completion of the undersea fibre connectivity on the east coast of Africa coupled with an increasingly expanding mobile phone penetration, among other factors, have improved the prospects for e-government growth in sub-Saharan Africa.
Source: Mousaion 30, pp 24 –32 (2012)More Less
This article discusses various problematic issues of providing access to, and promoting the wider utilisation of government information as important factors in e-government adoption. The Tunisian, Mauritian and Egyptian e-government experiences are examined in this article in order to highlight both good practices and remaining challenges in e-government adoption. Some of the good practices that we can benefit from, may be summarised as: formulating a viable national information and communication technology strategy (ICT-based) for modernising the telecommunications infrastructure, developing a regulatory framework for the deployment of a digital economy, obtaining international cooperation in ICT, developing skilled human resources management in ICT, developing a national digital culture in order to overcome the problems of low individual usage and adoption of ICT, establishing an information infrastructure to connect the various local government authorities, and establishing security standards in order to address threats. The study concludes that overcoming the obstacles of providing access to, and promoting the wider utilisation of government information, remain some of the biggest challenges for any government planning to adopt and implement e-government.
The importance of the quality of electronic records management in enhancing accountability in the South African public service : a case study of a national departmentAuthor Lorette JacobsSource: Mousaion 30, pp 33 –51 (2012)More Less
The purpose of this article is to examine, quantitatively, the importance of the quality of electronic records created and preserved to enhance accountability in the South African public service, with reference to a particular national department. Research conducted in relation to this article, utilised the South African Statistical Quality Assessment Framework (SASQAF) as a basis for determining the quality requirements of electronic records. Data was collected via a literature review and a self-administered questionnaire distributed among the staff of the Knowledge, Information and Records Management and Information System Unit of a national department. The study revealed that the particular national department did not sufficiently embrace SASQAF as a guide to improve the quality of its electronic records management. Accordingly, it is recommended that it should select relevant indicators and clauses to monitor the quality of its electronic records system, as outlined in the SASQAF. The research concludes with the view that a continued failure to transform current practices, would ultimately result in the department being unable to manage and preserve reliable and authentic records. This in turn will hamper informed decision-making and the provision of an effective and efficient service delivery process.
The legal and regulatory framework and infrastructure for e-government initiatives in Tanzania : a critical reviewAuthor Gwakisa A. KamatulaSource: Mousaion 30, pp 52 –68 (2012)More Less
It is an undeniable fact that the implementation of e-government is an important issue in many developing countries, including Tanzania. Based on a literature review and desktop research, this article provides an overview of the current state of e-government initiatives in Tanzania. The article discusses some of the positive steps taken thus far, as well as remaining hindrances to the effective adoption of e-government in the country. More importantly, the article explores the supportive legal and regulatory frameworks and infrastructures that are needed for the effective implementation of e-government. The article concludes that, despite the government's efforts to adopt e-governance, the admissibility of electronic records as permissible legal evidence is still questioned among citizens. Moreover, e-government awareness is still very low among Tanzanians. For instance, some people are still under the impression that the Tanzanian Law of Evidence Act does not make provision for recognising electronic documents (the by-products of e-governance) as admissible evidence before courts of law. They are not aware that the Legislature of Tanzania has responded to technological changes in the communication of information, by enacting the Electronic Evidence Amendment Act (Act 15 of 2007), which provides for the presentation of electronic evidence in courts of law in Tanzania. This allows Tanzanian companies, individuals and public institutions to confidently take orders, conclude contracts, send invoices, send money and generally conduct business electronically. However, common challenges regarding the implementation of e-government in Tanzania and other developing countries cannot be overstated. Issues such as the prevalence of cybercrime, threats to personal privacy, poor existing infrastructure and the generally low level of understanding of computer technologies remain matters of real concern.
Source: Mousaion 30, pp 69 –91 (2012)More Less
This article presents an empirical study that was conducted in three towns (i.e. Livingstone, Lusaka and Kitwe) in Zambia to ascertain the awareness of citizens about the anticipated value that e-government adds to the provision of public services. A sufficient level of awareness would entail that citizens are able to identify the opportunities that e-government has to offer in the delivery of public services. Using the mixed-methods research (MMR) approach, the study measured the perception of citizens on the overall e-government agenda. Spearman's rho was used to determine the concurrent and construct validity of the data collection instruments. Restricted factor analysis with Kaiser Normalization identified 8 predictor factors explaining 23% of the variances in the model indicating acceptance and/or awareness of e-government applications. The results of the research indicate that, provided the majority of citizens can be made aware of the benefits of e-government and suitably motivated to utilise e-government once it is rolled out globally, there is a strong likelihood that e-government would impact positively on the bureaucratic nature of government and ultimately improve public service delivery in Zambia. Further, this research suggests that there are encouraging indications of the effective development of e-government in Zambia. The only limitation of this study is that its limited sample cannot adequately represent the 15 million people of Zambia and cannot guarantee statistical generalisation.
Source: Mousaion 30, pp 92 –107 (2012)More Less
This article examines the factors that influence the adoption of e-government services by citizens in Zimbabwe. Guided by the Technology Acceptance Model, questionnaires were distributed and interviews conducted to establish the position of Zimbabweans with regards to adopting e-government services. These methods revealed that the current awareness of e-government is low, while various inadequacies, such as poor maintenance of sites, as well as outdated information, were cited as the major weaknesses. If members of the public are not familiar with e-government services, and if these services are perceived to be inadequate or are unavailable to citizens, it follows logically that time and resources are being wasted. However, the intention of this study is not to suggest that e-government initiatives should be suspended, but merely that more attention should be given to social, economic and political factors that influence e-government adoption.
Source: Mousaion 30, pp 108 –116 (2012)More Less
With the adoption of e-government, large volumes of electronic records are being generated in several forms. As government services move online, electronic-records will be the basis for confirming pension and other entitlements, registering births and deaths, verifying citizenship and certifying voting rights, enabling the collection of taxes and census enumeration, supporting financial management and enabling audits and evaluations, helping resolve land claims, supporting litigation, documenting inter-governmental agreements, enabling economic planning, describing the government's accomplishments, documenting its transgressions, monitoring the nationâ??s development and governance, and enabling countless other information intensive activities (IRMT 2004). Just as in paper-based records that are preserved at the national archives for public consumption, e-records should be awarded the same status and attention. Archival institutions should be able to accept electronic records produced by government departments since these records are vital to the operation of the country and interacting with its citizens. This article seeks to assess the electronic-readiness of the National Archives of Zimbabwe, since the management of e-records is one area that has challenged archivists and records managers, especially in developing countries. The article also aims to examine whether the archival institution has the necessary resources for the preservation of e-records. These archival resources include staff skills and the institutional infrastructure, both of which assist government departments in addressing the problems they face in promoting the archival perspective within government departments.
The role of record keeping and open government data initiatives in fostering a critical development of open government policies and public services in sub-Saharan AfricaAuthor Justus Murunga WamukoyaSource: Mousaion 30, pp 117 –127 (2012)More Less
In the last few years, the global community has focused its attention on the need for the provision of better public services to citizens of the world. "Better public services" in the context of this presentation refers to "a more cost-effective and efficient public service system" that guarantees cheaper, faster and more targeted services (i.e. service delivery) in a transparent, participatory and accountable manner. Beginning with the public sector reforms of the mid-1980s, which culminated in the so-called "New Public Management" system, and ultimately in the "good government" and "e-government" initiatives of the late 20th and the early 21st centuries, the global quest has continued to focus, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, on ways and means of improving service delivery and forging better interaction between government and citizens. This transformation gave rise to important buzzwords such as transparency, accountability and open government, which have proved to be critical initiatives in pushing the agenda for freedom of information laws, the adoption of e-government initiatives, and more recently, the open government data initiative. "Open data", a key component of open government, revolves around the principle of proactively disclosing government-generated information to citizens to enable them take greater ownership of, and participate more fully in their government's decision-making processes and activities. Unfortunately, during the last decade, much of the work on open data has concentrated on data sets and related computer applications that generate and provide information about government activities and mandates such as websites, while paying little, or no attention to government record-keeping processes, which essentially determine the quality and integrity of data generated and maintained in manual as well as automated systems. This article argues that a meaningful contribution to transparency, accountability, open government and citizens' rights to better and/or improved public services, can only be realised if we align open data policies and initiatives with record keeping initiatives which provide the means through which to guarantee the creation, capture, availability and usability of accurate, reliable and trustworthy records as evidence of open-government initiatives.
"Ghosts in our machines" : preserving public digital information for the sustenance of electronic government in sub-Saharan AfricaSource: Mousaion 30, pp 128 –136 (2012)More Less
The adoption of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the diffusion of the internet have led to the creation of electronic government (e-government) in many countries in the world. E-government aims at providing government information and services through online means. However, ICTs are like the proverbial double-edged sword when it comes to providing a platform for e-government. On the one hand they offer advantages of real-time and instantaneous access to information, while on the other hand they pose significant challenges related to the preservation of information. The discussion on the challenges posed by digital technology becomes even more important in view of the fact that many countries in sub-Saharan Africa are currently implementing e-government initiatives. However, "current technology is not up to the challenge of capturing, managing and preserving electronic records, especially social media records". Issues of sustainability have to be taken into consideration if the electronic information on e-government platforms is to remain accessible and proccessable over time. Governments in sSA will be plunged into the proverbial "digital dark ages" if library information services (LIS) professionals do not deal with the challenges posed by digital information. The quest of delivering government information and services with the aid of ITCs will come to naught if, for example, the information is not safeguarded from technological obsolescence. Typical characteristics of digital information used to deliver e-government will be discussed below, followed by the various challenges posed by the digital medium. Finally, the article will recommend strategies to deal with these challenges. Trusted digital repositories will feature prominently in the recommendations as these provide a possible means of providing permanent public access to electronic government information.
Outsourcing records storage to the cloud : challenges and prospects for African records managers and archivistsAuthor Victor KabataSource: Mousaion 30, pp 137 –157 (2012)More Less
There is a new demand to get office networks off the ground and into the cloud. Organisations are considering a transition from on-premise systems for storing and organising their business files, to cloud-based document-management solutions. This article explores the risks and benefits associated with transitioning to cloud-based document management. It defines the concepts of cloud-computing and argues that organisations that leverage the cloud for document management enjoy, among others, benefits such as improved business processes and scalable online storage capacity. The article continues to discuss the challenges of outsourcing records-storage to the cloud, including issues such as interoperability and the availability of cloud-provider systems. Finally, the article proposes some considerations for records managers and archivists before moving to cloud-based systems. The article is based on a literature review on cloud-computing and electronic records management. This information is useful to records managers and archivists who are considering the outsourcing of records storage to the cloud.
The university of Pretoria archives virtual classroom : connecting the community's past with the virtual futureSource: Mousaion 30, pp 158 –170 (2012)More Less
Recent technological changes, as well as higher expectations from the constituencies they serve, have had major impacts on the realm of museums. The virtual environment and all it has to offer, along with the perception by a more democratic society that museums are community property, have made traditional museums reconsider their positions in order to remain viable. Within the financial and resource constraints of the museum domain, this article will focus on a response to these challenges, which utilises the new technology, works more closely with the broader museum audience and collaborates with other information-related institutions such as archives and libraries. It looks specifically at an exhibition project devised and developed by the University of Pretoria Archives, the "Virtual Classroom", as a practical and viable solution to the challenges posed.
Author Deon NepgenSource: Mousaion 30, pp 171 –186 (2012)More Less
The overall aim of the study was to determine whether archival institutions conformed to a set of guidelines developed by the Society of American Archivists, and what the level of conformity was. In addition, the study aimed to answer whether the guidelines were practical to use and if they could be used in a diverse range of archival institutions. More specifically, the study aimed to determine whether archival institutions in New Zealand conformed to the guidelines, and what the level of conformity was. Although the study achieved a low response rate of, it was decided to continue with the interpretation of the results with the aim of at least making a small contribution to the limited body of knowledge on the subject of archival evaluation. The results of the study should therefore be treated with caution. The results of the data indicated that no evidence could be found that the guidelines were not practical to use or that they might be more suitable to a specific type or size of institution. In addition, archival institutions in New Zealand conformed, to a large extent, to the guidelines, except insofar as it related to the guideline on Outreach and Public Programmes, where a low level of conformity was identified. In recommending a way forward, consideration should be given to develop the guidelines into a proper methodology which could be used as a benchmark for the evaluation of archival institutions by archivists themselves and by relevant stakeholders.
Author Mehluli MasukuSource: Mousaion 30, pp 187 –200 (2012)More Less
Human rights are "rights" and freedoms to which all human beings are entitled. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 1, declares the freedom of all human beings. However, history is littered with examples of the gross abuse of human rights and a persistent refusal on the part of those in public office to accept accountability for such acts of abuse, a fact that reflects negatively on good governance. It is in light of the above, that it is argued here that records can be used to protect people from abuse of their rights, especially at the level of governance. The United Nations and the Donor Community have come up with important principles of good governance, which include consensus, participatory engagement, following the "rule of law", effective and efficient governance, and accountability and transparency. In most cases, due to a lack of proper recordkeeping, it is very difficult for the leaders of a community to be accountable and transparent, and this often leads to an abuse of the rights of the people. The thrust of this article is that good governance, accountability and the protection of human rights are underpinned by sound records management practices. We further argue that records management does not only assist in tracing the actions of those who are, or were in public offices, but it can also be used as a deterrent to human rights abuses. Literature that underscores the inevitable, yet overlooked, role of archives as pillars of accountability, human rights and good governance is critically reviewed, with international examples.
Source: Mousaion 30, pp 201 –215 (2012)More Less
The article examines the need for effective records and information management as a key ingredient in fighting corruption. Based on a literature review, the article analyses corruption contextually and examines the important role proper records and information management can play in fighting corruption. In particular, it proposes specific steps that may be taken to ensure good records and information management in order to minimise the problem. The article concludes that corruption is a "disease" that needs a "vaccine" called effective records and information management (RIM), and recommends key parameters to consider so that RIM can significantly aid in the fight against corruption.
Source: Mousaion 30, pp 216 –238 (2012)More Less
This study discusses the management of the former East African Community (EAC) archives held at the Arusha Records Center (ARC) in Tanzania. The study investigates how the records of the former EAC are currently being managed and proposes strategies for their future management to facilitate preservation and access. Data for the study was collected through interviews, questionnaire, personal observations and documentary reviews. The study reveals that, following the collapse of the former EAC in 1977, no legal arrangements were put in place to ensure the proper future management of the former EAC records. The ARC keeps records of the former EAC, its predecessor organisations and correspondence with its affiliated institutions and agencies. Additionally, unprocessed records currently occupy much-needed storage space, inadequate funding hampers the proper management of the EAC archives and no preservation measures are in place. The study further showed that there were many unprocessed records occupying unnecessary space, that the funds allocated to the management of the EAC archives were insufficient, that there was an acute shortage of storage space, and that preservation measures and finding aids were inadequate. The study also noted that there were very few users of these archives due to the lack of marketing strategies, both locally and regionally. The study concludes that, although the ARC has been managing the former EAC archives since 1979, there was a very real danger of losing these records due to improper management and a failure to comply with international best practices for managing archives. Against this background, the study recommends that the Records and Archives Management Division (RAMD) should formulate access and preservation policies, prepare detailed finding aids, develop a disaster preparedness plan and launch awareness programmes aimed at enhancing the use of these archival records. It is further recommended that records of the former EAC be managed as a mutual or shared heritage, or alternatively that the RAMD of Tanzania should hand over these records to the new EAC for digitisation and microfilming of the archives as a means to ensure their long-term preservation and accessibility.
Source: Mousaion 30, pp 239 –249 (2012)More Less
The high levels of poverty in most developing countries mean that very few citizens attempt to access the services offered by the National Archives in different countries, including Zambia. As a result, the uptake of National Archives services, including e-services, is minimal. This results in a lack of appreciation for the role the National Archives play in nation building. The study aims to investigate the effectiveness of strategies to market the archive services at the National Archives of Zambia. Current marketing strategies to create greater awareness and attract more prospective users, as well as the challenges encountered by the National Archives in marketing their content and services, are given attention. The study reveals that, although marketing is done to some extent, much more needs to be done to promote the level of awareness among Zambian citizens to ensure greater utilisation of the archives. This research further revealed that currently, the National Archives has no marketing plan in place. The majority of staff at the National Archives needs training in marketing for the marketing programmes to be implemented effectively. Another major challenge being faced by the National Archives is the lack of adequate funding. The study also revealed that much remains to be done to market the electronic resources created in the recent years by digitising certain elements of the collection. It is recommended therefore, that multiple methods of marketing be used to market the services. Additionally, training programmes should be put in place to equip members of staff with the necessary skills in marketing. Government and other cooperating partners should provide adequate funding to financially support the operations of the National Archives, including the marketing activities.