Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for October, 2011

Let’s report our social service delivery problems via SMS

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Thursday, October 27th, 2011 by Lenard Kamwendo

For some time people in various cities in Zimbabwe have faces the realities of poor service delivery and mismanagement by local authorities and some of these challenges have gone unreported due to lack of reporting channels. Most people used to prefer the traditional media channels like radio, TV and newspapers to report poor service delivery cases. But these methods have got their own challenges like poor coverage resulting in few cases being reported.  For example its not every time we report a burst pipe in our neighborhood and the problem is automatically covered in the press and we get immediate attention of the council to come and repair it.

Recently I went to buy lunch at a local restaurant and I came across this funny flier. At first I thought it was one of those being distributed by companies advertising their products in town.  So as I read through I got so much interested with the “For Free” part. It’s very rare in Zimbabwe to hear something being offered for free. So I read the whole leaflet and unlike the rest of the fliers I have been given in town this one I didn’t throw into the rubbish bin because I wanted to check the website address on the flier.

So I logged on to www.pupurafakazazim.com.

These are two Shona and Ndebele words joined together to read Pupura and Fakaza. This is an organisation created to provide a platform for us citizens of Zimbabwe to report our social service delivery problems in our cities. For one to send a report you just sent a text message typing your problem and location to a number on the flier. And this text message is for free.  The organisation compiles the text messages and forwards them to the relevant authorities.  If you want to check the reports you just log on to the organisation’s website address and select the category you want to view. Since the website uses a programme powered by USHAHIDI there is a provision to see a map of the area from which the problem was reported. This kind of a service lets make our local authorities accountable by reporting and informing about our concerns in the areas we live. Hopefully this service will spread to other towns so that it doesn’t only serve residents of Harare.

How many times can a person be born again?

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Thursday, October 27th, 2011 by Varaidzo Tagwireyi

There is no feeling like the joy one feels when he/she lets Jesus Christ into their heart. The term “being born again” is a more than apt description of this experience. It literally feels as though you’ve been re-introduced into this world with renewed vigour, your mind and heart converted and restored to their intended state of purity and clarity. It’s like being given a clean, fresh start. Many say, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

However, with the sudden surge in the number of different churches in Zimbabwe, many people are now being born and re-born, again and again. I’m sure we are all familiar with people, (each of us knows at least 3), who bounce about from church to church, searching for the light of salvation. We’ve watched them at this crusade and that revival, each time, re-dedicating their lives to Jesus and once again experiencing this re-birth of the spirit, and transformation of the heart and mind. Every time you meet these people, they are worshiping at a new church (usually the latest).

It used to be that one remembered the time they received salvation. I know many people who even remembered the exact date, and related details of this momentous occasion, like one would remember their wedding day, or the day the day their only child was born. Yet, with so many now opting for spiritual transience, how do they keep track of the many times they have been saved or indeed, the last time they saw the light?

In the bible, a man named Nicodemus asked Jesus, “How can a man be born again?” However, with things the way they are, I feel the question should now be “How many times can a person be born again?”

Free the .co.zw domain space!

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Thursday, October 27th, 2011 by Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa

I’ve been following TechZim’s coverage of issues surrounding the registration of a .co.zw domain. The process is unnecessarily laborious and complicated and it opens up those who would register a Zimbabwean domain to exploitation by ISPs, who in many cases bundle their comparatively expensive hosting products with the domain registration. As a result a number of businesses and web portals register generic Top Level Domains (.com, .net. info etc). It is not possible to overstate the importance of hosting Zimbabwean business and content on the .co.zw domain space. That space is a national resource, and belongs to all Zimbabweans.

In an interview, founding editor of TechZim Limbikani Makani had this to say:

The big problem is that it’s all unclear. No one knows, and the few people that do know are the ISPs that do the registration. The truth is if you go to a registrar with your paperwork, they will register you. The problem is that they don’t make this information (registration requirements) available. Either they don’t have the resources, they don’t want to or they’re afraid. Afraid that if this becomes something that just anybody can do something negative might happen, or the resource that they’ve been feeding from might disappear, or it might get into the wrong hands. Because of that they’re afraid to just let go. I think they can let go. Is it too expensive? It’s actually not. ZISPA doesn’t charge the ISPs for domain registration at all. What they charge is a membership to ZIPSA which is $30, which is nothing to a big organisation like Utande or ZELCO. Unfortunately, there is not enough information out there about domain registration. The ZIPSA website has been updated in several years. ZISPA can immediately improve that. Secondly they can make the entire process simpler. They’re not making enough of an effort to make the informatio0n available to everyone.

Where’s the water during the heatwave?

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Thursday, October 27th, 2011 by Bev Clark

Health and Child Welfare Minister, Dr Henry Madzorera, said the direct effect of the hot temperatures were dehydration and sweating and encouraged people to drink a lot of water.

Mr Minister, this would be great advice if we actually got water out of our taps; but mostly, we don’t.

Too much wealth in too few hands

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Thursday, October 27th, 2011 by Bev Clark

I think many Zimbabweans feel the same.

This is a banner from Occupy Durham, building on the momentum generated from the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Broadband for the poor by 2015

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Wednesday, October 26th, 2011 by Lenard Kamwendo

Zimbabwe, Africa and the rest of the World’s marginalised population are set to benefit from a great initiative launched by the United Nations which is meant to connect poor citizens to the Internet by 2015.

Read the rest of the article.