E-government in Lesotho: a policy analysis of the government websites with reference to service delivery.
Matsieli, Molefi Lawrence.
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The upsurge in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in almost all facets of human endeavour has forced governments to think of innovative ways of serving and interacting with their citizens. E-government has been proposed and adopted by many governments around the world as an important system and a framework for transformation and reform. Properly designed and implemented e-government provides governments with effective tools to improve public sector efficiency, thereby enhancing access to quality services and strengthening relationships with citizens and other stakeholders. The primary aim of this study was to analyse the status of e-government in Lesotho and the context within which it is implemented. The purpose was to understand the progress of e-government implementation since the adoption of the ICT policy of 2005. In particular, a content analysis study was conducted to determine the current status of the websites of the ministries of the Government of Lesotho in relation to their level of maturity to deliver e-government services. The results were matched with the 2001 United Nations five-stage model of e-government assessment from simple to sophisticated features. The study also focused on exploring organisational perspectives in respect of issues affecting the implementation of e-government services in the country. This facilitated in identifying main factors important for egovernment success and failure in the Lesotho context. The study employed qualitative methods to provide a better understanding of the research issue and address the research questions. It triangulated data collection methods by observing and evaluating government websites and interviewing purposively sampled government officials. The findings revealed that Lesotho has not given due attention to the issue of e-government service delivery. This is evidenced by the fact that the websites of the ministries of the Government of Lesotho are either not fully developed or do not yet exist, which clearly impedes the government objective to reap and seize maximum benefits from the opportunities brought by ICTs. The results also revealed important factors affecting the adoption and implementation of egovernment in the Lesotho context. These issues, in which their presence encourages success and their absence encourages failure, include vision, policy and regulatory laws, political uncertainty, political will, leadership support and resource mobilisation, resistance to change, digital divide and policy monitoring and evaluation. Recommendations based on the findings of the study have been made to address the challenges encountered.