AO: Mnjama (2003) points to an incorrect assumption that automation is the only way of providing quick and accurate information for decision making. More than fifteen years later, I see similar echoes in contemporary public narratives about the capacity of big data/machine learning to do pattern recognition and automated analysis that goes beyond the capacity of humans. Mnjama also points here to a key issue which is the lack of integration of the computer systems with the manual filing systems (in fact leading to more disjuncture between what the online records show and what can be found in physical copy as pointed out by Carotenuto and Luongo (2005).
Although the introduction of information and communication technologies in government ministries and departments might have been hailed as a major step towards improved information-processing provision, it has had negative effects on the development of an efficient records management programme. First, the introduction of ICTs has led to an increase in the generation of paper records, especially accounting records. Second, the introduction of computers and the incorrect assumption that automation is the only way of providing quick and accurate information for decision making, leading to a neglect of the management of paper-based records, which still constitute the vast majority of recorded information in the country. Finally, no efforts have been made to link the use of computers with an efficient records management programme. As a result, while many departments have embraced the use of computers, registries have been left to struggle with unqualified registry clerks, thus contributing to many of the problems discussed above.