The role of public relations in the public sector: a comparative analysis of communication strategies in the Ministry of Defence and the police department in Kenya
The main concern of this research project was to underscore the critical role played by Public Relations in creating better understanding between Public Organizations and the Public. Appreciating the critical role played by both the Military and the Police in national development, it is important for all stakeholders and more specifically the Citizens who pay taxes to finance and sustain the institutions also understand them. The aim of the Study was to undertake a comparative analysis of Communication Strategies in the Ministry of Defence and the Police Department and how effective they are in changing public perception. Poor public perception was regarded as one of the major gaps which has caused misunderstanding and alienate the Citizens from the institutions which are constitutionally required to protect and defend them. Effective communication can promote social harmony and develop confidence between the service providers and those receiving the services. Unless communication is managed strategically and professionally there will be serious disconnect between the Citizens and those working in Public Institutions like the Military and the Police Departments. The main findings of the Study concluded that a Public Relations as practiced today is still wanting and we require to revisit and re-engineer Public Relations in the Government and more specifically in MOSD and the Police Department. Re-training and re-tooling will be required, adequate budgets and more personnel require to be provided. There must also be deliberate efforts to develop communication strategies. The promulgation of the New Constitution, the renewed zeal to fight corruption, the increased demand from Kenyans and the International community for a more accountable government, and the increasing role of Parliament in challenging the Executive require that Government Institutions including security organs become more sensitive to the demands from the Citizens. They must therefore develop effective communications strategies to assist in dimistification and changing the poor perception, which has been there for a long time. Failure to do this will cost these important organizations dearly in the long run. They must either embrace change or become victims of being managed and shaped by inevitable change.