Let’s stop corruption: website founder

Tawanda Kembo, the founder of the whistle-blowing website, told The Zimbabwean he started the site after being pressured into paying a bribe by a corrupt police officer.

Kembo said that, although he “wasn’t brave enough to refuse to pay the bribe,” he felt he had been “taken advantage of by the police officer.”

Shortly after that incident Kembo learned of Kenyan whistle-blowing website ipaidabribe.org.ke and saw an opportunity to make a difference in his home country.

After launching the website solo, Kembo soon received outside technical and financial assistance.

ZimEye.org have offered free advertising and help setting up a mirror of the website in the UK, while eatout.co.zw have also offered free advertising and assistance with social-media.

Joseph Bunga, founder of eatout.co.zw, said that he admired and supported any opportunity to end corruption in Zimbabwe, but that he understood the difficulties of launching a website without assistance.

“We would like to see more accountability in both private and public sectors, and as self-financed web developers ourselves we know the challenges that new websites face,” Bunga told The Zimbabwean.

“We have some technical expertise that we wanted to share with Tawanda [because] we admire anyone with the tenacity to actually make things happen in a difficult environment.”

Concern Shoko, the CEO of hosting site mega24.co.za, has offered to give Kembo free web hosting for a lifetime in order to sustain the venture.

The site runs off open-source software Ushahidi, developed in the aftermath of Kenya’s disputed 2007 presidential election, which collects reports via email or SMS and places them on a Google map.

The Zimbabwean version of I Paid a Bribe cannot yet receive reports via SMS, but Kembo is working with a company called ForgetMeNot to add the feature, which he predicts will arrive shortly.

“The SMS tariffs will be cheaper than the ordinary SMS tariffs. We currently have a working application which is in the testing phase. I expect the SMS feature to be implemented in a couple of weeks. This will be a breakthrough for us because Zimbabwe has about 1.4 million internet users and close to 10 million mobile phone subscribers,” Kembo said. “As ambitious as it may sound, our goal is to end corruption. We want to make it easy for anyone to report corrupt activities and make the reports accessible to everyone.”

International corruption watchdog ranked Zimbabwe 154 out of 182 countries in its annual corruption index for 2011, giving the country a score of 2.2 out of 10 for perceived levels of corruption.

Post published in: News
  1. CT Gadzirayi

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