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Chamisa defends Chinotimba laptop gift
01/09/2011 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
Information highway ... Joseph Chinotimba
 
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INFORMATION Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa has defended his decision to give war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba a laptop under the country’s much-vaunted e–government computers programme.

Chamisa has already parcelled out laptops to President Robert Mugabe, all cabinet ministers and their permanent secretaries.

It was revealed on Thursday that Chinotimba, the militant leader of the war veterans who achieved notoriety during the land invasions in 2000, had also benefited.

Chamisa said: “As you may know, as a government, we launched the ZimConnect document which is our e-government flagship. It’s a roadmap to make sure we increase literacy on ICT, turning our country from a techno-phobic to techno-savvy society which looks at a laptop as a daily requirement for workstyles and lifestyles.

“After we had given laptops to ministers, permanent secretaries and principal directors, Cde Chinotimba came to our offices with a group of other war veterans. They said as farmers they wanted laptops to use in their farming activities, and that fits very well with our programme. We want farmers to use internet to enhance productivity.

“We said look, to the extent that there is appetite from Cde Chinotimba, we will satisfy that appetite. So it happened that Cde Chinotimba’s hands were happy recipients of the goodness of this ministry.

“We are a government for everyone, we represent across the spectrum from the high end of society to the low end. Cde Chinotimba represents our being as a country, these are our war veterans we have to make sure that we empower them.”

Chinotimba, asked what he wanted to use the laptop for, shot back with typical humour: “What do you use laptops for? It is a government exercise for people and I want to write down all the farms we took under the land reform programme, and also to have names of the remaining farms so that we take them and give people like you.”

Chamisa said the programme would soon be expanded to cover MPs, police commanders, judges, prosecutors, councillors and chiefs.

He added: “We want to cascade this programme down to the whole population. We are also committed to the PC-per-classroom policy which we are shortly launching at Chogugudza High School in Mashonaland East.

“Wherever there is electricity, there is going to be internet connectivity.”

Chamisa says increased computer literacy and access to information communication technology will “send inconvenience and pain in people’s lives to an early grave”.



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He added: “ICT is the only bridge that is going to help the underprivileged in our society to join the rest of the world. People up and down the country lose a lot of money and time doing things they could easily take care of at the click of a mouse.

“Why should someone from Tsholotsho, for instance, travel to Harare for a birth certificate and passport? My ministry’s mission is to change this and ensure that these services are available online.

“When we give out computers it’s not charity, we are not father Christmas. We are doing this for an objective.”
 
Chamisa said they had set up training centres in Harare and Bulawayo for government workers to improve their ICT skills.

“Empires of the future are empires of the mind. The highest result of education, the ultimate effect, is tolerance. Tolerance is good for society and good for development while ignorance has the worst side effects,” the minister added.

Zimbabwe has great potential for rapid internet and social media expansion.  In June 2011, internetworldstats.com reported that  nearly 1,5 million Zimbabweans (11.8% of the population) are internet users. 

According to the Zimbabwe Advertising Research Foundation (ZARF), 24 % of urban adults have access to the internet and 83% of them use it at least once a week. 

Zimbabwe’s largest cell phone service provider, Econet, launched Zimbabwe’s first 3G wireless broadband mobile phone service in 2010, allowing the 86% of Zimbabweans with mobile phones to access the internet and social media that way.  Currently over 30% of Econet’s subscribers (1,8 million people) are now using this service.


 
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