Nam, Zim review MoU
By Timo Shihepo
Windhoek – Representatives from the ministries of information of Namibia and Zimbabwe met in Windhoek this week to review the 2004 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the aim of implementing several aspects and bring it up to date with current developments such digitalisation.
The two southern African countries signed the memorandum of understanding over a decade ago in areas of broadcasting, print, news agencies, film making, and cultural exchange, among others.
Despite many aspects being encompassed in the memorandum, so far The Southern Times newspaper is the only project that has come out of the agreement.
A delegation from Zimbabwe led by the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Christopher Mushohwe was in Windhoek for meetings with Namibia’s Information, Communication Technology Minister Tjekero Tweya and heads of various departments under his ministry.
In an interview after the first meeting on Tuesday, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary George Charamba said a lot had changed in commercial and technological developments since the signing of the 2004 MoU between the two countries.
“We signed this memorandum of understanding in 2004 and that’s now a whole 13 years ago and a lot has changed. It was a very broad based generic kind of MoU but there has been a lot of changes since 2004. We are now trying to effect those changes to make it a living document.”
The two ministries and senior officials from various departments looked at several aspects that are in the memorandum of understanding but are yet to be implemented. Throughout the week, they reviewed all the aspects and decided which ones would be endorsed and which ones were better left out.
Charamba said he was aware that they were in a sector which was undergoing a lot of technological changes. He added that there was need for them to systematically digest all those changes, integrate them in the subsector and see how best they could ride on those technological changes to serve the people.
“We want to test our own systems and see how well we have absorbed technology integration, whether there is a need for further investments, adjustments, legal adjustments or even in terms corporate structures.”
The two ministries also wanted to see some high level partnership between the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC). The ministers and their officials were expected to visit a satellite station in Walvis Bay later in the week.
On his part, Namibia’s Information and Communication Technology permanent secretary, Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana said he was happy with the partnership between Zimpapers and New Era Publication Corporation that gave birth to Namzim Newspapers, the publishers of the regional weekly, The Southern Times.
He, however, said a lot still has to be done and that there was a need to review the 2004 agreement to incorporate modern day technology. He was hoping that the series of meeting would bring about the right changes.
“There is a lot that can be done if we look back at the 2004 MoU because we didn’t have an implementation process plan, that’s why some things are not yet implemented. We are hoping that these meetings would be the vehicles to drive the implementation process. MoUs are not for decorations but they are to impact changes. We will identify setbacks and see how we can navigate them.”
The Zimbabwe delegation comprised Zimpapers board chairman, Delma Lupepe, who is also Namzim vice chairman, Zimpapers chief executive officer and Namzim board member, Pikirayi Deketeke, Zimpapers and Namzim board member Rejoice Nharaunda, ZBC chief executive Patrick Mavhura, and New Ziana acting CEO Rangarirai Shoko.
The Namibian delegation included Namibian Broadcasting Corporation’s director general, Stanely Similo, New Era Corporation Publications chief executive officer Dr Audrin Mathe, and Namzim board chairperson Franna Kavari.