Sorry Ngo! – We Don’t Need Phones in Govt

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John Ekongo

IF truth be told, we do not need phones in the public service. For all it is worth, we are just spending a whole lot of money paying for a service that is never attended to by our colleagues from the public service.

I would rather say let’s get all these very important bigwigs in the public service a catchy global positioning satellite device to track them down from the countless meetings they attend, the whole week.

MTC and Cell One, here is an opportunity to make a pot of money – just imagine all civil servants instead of a phone on their desk, we fit them with a GPS device on their persons to really find out if they attend meetings or not.

That way, we can monitor and keep track of the ones that are really in office and the ones that are pretending to be working.

The switchboard is said to be the window of your world to your clients, so is the reception.

But in Namibia, it is the window to nowhere.

I am sure and more than convinced that at one point or other, you have gone through agony when you called a government office. Nothing new, one would say, but eish it gets irritating.

I find it amazing that you can phone practically any switchboard at any government office and you find yourself waiting and waiting and waiting for someone to answer the phone.

And when someone eventually does answer, the tone is as if nothing happened. Not even an “I am sorry to keep you waiting, Sir”. It is just a “yes the Ministry of …”

“Can I speak to the director?” And the answer will be: “He is not in office and I don’t know what time he will be back”, before the phone gets slammed in your ear.

Forget about leaving a message – chances that it will be passed on are like you telling me that Namibia will win the soccer world cup.

After having been rapped by the chief scribe about our lack of regional stories and with a strong appeal to cover the regions, I thought it might do me justice to be a model employee, perhaps when appraisal and promotion do come up, he might be tempted to say John is a keen follower of instruction.

So, I rang up the regions to find out what is happening. I experienced sheer agony and pain.

First, it was this thing of tracking down a governor who was criss-crossing between towns, and his personal assistant was not at liberty to dish out his number.

If not that, then you have the receptionist who appears to be the chief interrogator, asking you this and that and why and whose. Only to tell you that, well, he is in a meeting.

“What time do you expect him to be done, madam?” that is attempting to be subtle and charming.

“Well my brother I don’t know and I can’t really tell, but I will put you through to his secretary.”

After wasting my call, my money and my energy in answering silly questions! Eventually you get to the office and the ringing continues and continues and continues and continues.

There have been endless reports about the Public Service and understanding that there is work to be done. And that, seriously our attitude of operations should change if we want seriousness.

My colleague Catherine once hinted that in an ever-fast paced world, we need to seriously engage in a more professional manner. Understanding that your work is pertinent and highly valued.

It won’t hurt a fly to once just be in office and work from the office, as opposed to endless meetings that are nonetheless keeping you away from real work.

After having endured countless ghost phones and unbecoming telephone etiquette from my colleagues, I am honestly considering registering a BEE company with the trade ministry to supply all public servants with GPS device.

The benefits are economical. Instead of calling up someone, just get onto your PC and if you have navigational software installed on your PC, just search the person’s name, hit click and find them.

No telephones, no interrogation and no continuous ringing.

If it so happens that he is at Shoprite, well, go meet him there.

Also imagine human resources offices, they would be able to fire with concrete evidence as opposed to what they do.

Like I always say, Sorry Ngo!

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