The government plans to roll out a Unified Messaging System encompassing email, SMS, fax, voicemail and video messaging to allow citizens contact government offices through email and ask questions, seek clarifications and also give comments if necessary. The project is funded through a loan from the Chinese Government through China EXIM Bank with ZTE Corporation implementing the project at a cost of Kshs. 4 Billion.
Once implemented, communication among central Government staff, Ministries, Departments and agencies will be issued with a uniform domain name for their emailing system which is gov.ke. So far 24 government departments have been issued with the emailing system among them Ministry of Mining, Immigration and Foreign affairs among others. Implementation is taking place at the Ministry of interior, Kenya Police and Ministry of education among others. Other than the email system which will target 50,000 users, the system will address human resource issues including management of personnel information as well as training. It will also offer high availability and backup core to solution as well as deploy hardware solutions including laptops, desktop, UPs and laser printers.
The government has previously sought to implement the project but has faced various challenges in the management of email services across the various segments of the public service. The result of this has been untimely upgrade of services, non-compliance to licensing requirements and either duplication or lack of technical competence to provide optimal support.
In addition, many of the government employees were using their personal email addresses to perform government business. While hosting email under a single platform will allow for the streamlining of operations, it also poses a danger with regards to information security. Last year, Russian hackers were able to access the White House email servers but not those of the entire United States government.