Mobile & web commerce in 2012, unlocking the value of connectivity

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EcoCashAt the beginning of 2011 we predicted that Zimbabwe would see internet and mobile commerce services launched in Zimbabwe. As the year came to close, it was certain we were right on target with the prediction: Econet launched EcoCash they extending the use to more than just remittances and airtime; ZimSwitch confirmed to us in an interview they were working on an internet payment gateway which they were going to launch before 2011 ended. But something happened on the way to heaven

While both companies launched their mobile money systems (mobile banking in ZimSwitch’s case), neither offered internet and mobile payments in the true commerce sense of the concept. You can still just pay for airtime and utility bills. Retailers still need you to show up with a bank debit or credit card for any kind of ‘electronic’ payment.

Still, that’s not to discount the progress made in 2011. It was after all the year that real mobile banking and outright MPESA style mobile money became a reality.

In 2012 it’s likely to happen. Whether we’re going to see the full e-commerce & mobile commerce services roll-out in Zimbabwe is not in question. The daring thing to say here is that it’ll start happening in the first half of the year. Well, unless the regulators suffocate the process.

The means to pay for goods and services via mobile and the web is a much awaited development for creators of web and mobile content as well as retailers, especially those in urban areas where access to mobile and internet services is significant.

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Creators of content which can be consumed via PCs and mobile devices such as music, books and short films will have an opportunity to take their business online. The tools that have been used by pirates to steal from them will be available as platforms to make revenue from.

Retailers have an opportunity here as well. For them, the internet and mobile money systems are another channel to access payment for their goods, which, after payment has been processed can delivered to a customer without having them leave their home or office.

Providers of services where the seller doesn’t need to meet buyer physically will need this too.

The benefits are unlikely to be immediate and the first players will have a lot of learning and stumbling to go through. Mobile and internet commerce for the everyday man is still very young in Africa. Zimbabwe will be one of the first countries to implement payment systems that are designed locally to meet local needs. There’s desperate need for it to do so; where all its neighbours (and 90% of Africa) have access to popular global internet payment services like PayPal, Zimbabwe does not. In fact, any PayPal user that happens to use the service while they are in Zimbabwe risks having their account suspended.

The opportunity is greater for local information technology entrepreneurs and startups. They will naturally be able to see the opportunities first because they understand how the internet works. They see the internet and mobile platforms more for the opportunity they are than the everybody else sees. It is they that have the responsibility to reveal and help the country unlock the potential of the internet and mobile as commerce platforms.

14 Comments

  1. Ronald says:

    We have a lot to learn from Kenya.  Please watch  this TEDxVienna video by Alexander Oswald – Why Kenyans do it better 

  2. I find it sad that “online payments” on techzim always seems
    to mean Paypal! Heck, you can even accept credit card payments online in Zimbabwe.
    I know several not very big Zimbabwean websites that accept credit cards :
    visa, MasterCard, jcb, paypal, etc. Those that accept paypal accept paypal
    using a third party service based in a paypal supported country. I won’t
    mention names or provide links unless provoked by Techzim. Paypal itself
    accepts credit cards. People are just too lazy to really look for ways around Paypal.
    Heck, I even built a site that accepts credit cards and paypal for me, and it
    does! (Mari yako chete, my research cost money. You can do it yourself.)

    Secondly, many folks here claim to be highly advanced
    programmers.

    Surely if they were, this is an opportunity for them to
    create the online payment system and monopolize online payments long before
    even paypal comes in. In South Africa they have a number of online payment
    systems which I can name : ebucks, payu, payfast, standard bank autopay, all of
    which were made in South Africa, and for South Africa, even when paypal was not
    there. So chiri kukunetsai muZimbabwe chii? What’s the problem or hold up?

    I think serious programmers would build technology rather
    than become expert joomla users. Even a O’level can use joomla. If you build
    joomla itself, then you are an expert. In anticipation of criticism from those
    who say joomla is opensource and built by many people, heck, then what is
    stopping you from doing the same thing in Zimbabwe and producing your own
    opensource software/project?

    In South Africa, which most Zimbabweans brag is not as educated
    as Zimbabwe, people build home grown solutions rather than just wait on other
    countries or one person. At Stellenbosch, one company even built a satellite, Sumbandila,
    that is already in space and even serving “highly educated” Zimbabwe, yet Zimbabwe
    does not have even one. I bet one will come from invading someone’s business. Ubuntu
    which even the Computer Society of Zimbabwe is offering for free on its website
    is South African. Ubuntu’s creator founded Thawte, a digital certification firm
    which he sold for US$500 million at the age of 26 to Verisign of the US. He started
    Thawte at home. It is such stories some of us would want to hear come from
    Zimbabwe. We need programmers who are innovative and who build world-class
    applications rather than go on and on about not having access to app;lications
    developefdd abroad for their own countries, and let exported. Personally, I would
    want to hear that a Zimbabwean has created something better or alternative to Paypal,
    in Zimbabwe, and now serving the whole world than waiting for PayPal to launch
    ecommerce projects. Paypal is not ecommerce. By the way, one of the founders of
    Paypal, Elon Musk, was born in south Africa and grew up there.

    Anyway, I did some reasonably extensive research, but not as
    intense as the kind I do for my books, and I found out that there already
    exists a company in Zimbabwe, which is not ZimSwitch, that has the capabilities
    for online transactions and which you can connect to using APIs, if it allowed
    it, but sadly at the moment, for some reason it is not doing it. It has been
    sitting on this technology for the past, like, 10 years.

    In other countries, its sister operations and home country
    (Nigeria) actually have APIs for developers to use to e-commerce enable their
    sites. At the moment, in Zimbabwe, it is only connected to banks and a few
    companies, if still. I do know for a fact that it serves Kingdom and Interfin, especially
    Interfin’s e-banking platform. At one time Econet was connected to it, I don’t
    know about now. It’s public knowledge.

    The bottomline is basically that, that company is, in my
    opinion, very unprofessionally run and not being run to its fullest potential, and
    that is my opinion.

    The Zimbabwe website of the company itself has links leading
    to nowhere, the phone lines don’t work, and even the design of the website is
    whack and was last updated like, in 2002! And to think the man who ran it was
    voted marketer of the Year at least two times!!!

    But I am happy, and I see a better future for it now that it
    is in the hands of a telecommunications expert who was involved in the start up
    of Econet and Econet Nigeria, Zachary Wazara of SpiritAge.

    Below I will give you links which you can follow if you want
    to see what I mean about the Zimbabwe company being a laughing stock compared
    to its peers in the same stable.

    The company is called e-Tranzact.

    This is the worldwide e-Transact website, which is based in
    Nigeria: http://www.etranzact.com,

    You can read and even download e-Tranzact API for e-commerce
    from etranzact.com, which like I said, in Zimbabwe are not offered by
    e-Transact Zimbabwe.:

    http://www.etranzact.com/etranzact/ecommerceservices.php

    This link is to e-tranzact Zimbabwe’s website.

    http://www.etranzact.co.zw/Web/home.jsp

    Notice the very low and poor quality of design. Browse it
    and go through it and you will see for yourself that links lead to nowhere. Call
    the phone numbers of e-Tranzact Zimbabwe and see for yourself that the telephone
    numbers don’t work. Even the address, I don’t live in Harare but it is wrong
    and e-tranzact Zimbabwe is not based there. The company is the online
    equivalent of a fake company. And to think its former MD, a marketer of
    national renown, was awarded marketer of the year dozens of times with such nonsense.
    While he needed not understand the technology, at least his magic marketing
    wand ought to have been visible, which it was not.

    You can read about SpiritAge taking over etranzact in the
    link below;

    http://www.dailynews.co.zw/index.php/business/35-business/2478-spiritage-gets-60-stake-in-etranzat.html

    As for mobile services and mobile commerce, I hope you do
    not equate mobile commerce with premium SMS services.

    I personally have experimented with selling online via
    Ecocash and even Cellcard. I did so for 30 day and did not get one dime. I was
    experimenting with a donations-driven site where you can donate any amount. I
    got nothing. But I am not discouraged. I have stopped offering them because I am
    now working on something better and I will no longer be powering my site with
    donations.

    Lastly those who talk of regulation all the time. Sometimes
    it helps to have a little introspection. eTranzact is still doing business in
    Zimbabwe, even as there is the so-called regulation.

    Do you honestly think
    the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe would be against you developing a payment system
    that can process payments from abroad in Zimbabwe? Heck no, because they want
    the forex flowing here than going out. RBZ simply wont allow the existence of a system that presents opportunities for
    people to externalize money.

    So, in the meantime, build a world-class application
    that processes local payments, and when it has been tested and proven
    successful in Zimbabwe, take it global. Go even right into the U.S if you have
    to.

    M-Pesa in Kenya succeeded in Kenya to such a point that even
    Harvard and Oxford professors had to land in Kenya to study the African
    innovation. M-Pesa later spread to neighbouring East African countries and then
    into South Africa, where most advanced African technologies have come from.

    I am not a programmer. I am a writer, first and foremost, who
    loves technology and using it. I write books on entrepreneurship, business
    management, and small business strategy. I am not a motivational speaker and I am
    not a motivational writer. Lest some people think I share fluffy fluffy feel
    good stuff. I write practical stuff with examples and cases.

  3. Madziva says:

    @techzim:disqus  A positive outlook by techzim for 2012, that’s encouraging THANKS.@55eda97a25a3b60bf00a370fa6836a8f:disqus just like a motivational speaker, speak speak speak but no action. You know what the best motivation you can give to others is by doing. People are motivated by doers. You are seeing the opportunity JUST DO IT. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE. Not all software companies or web companies where built by programmers!

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  5. Nhingi says:

    Great article. We’re getting there Zimbabwe step by step. When I tried to log into my paypal in zimbabwe the website told me that it wont allow me to login because im in a sanctioned country. how funny is that. Im sure this will be resolved.

    1. tinm@n says:

      keep hoping. its been at it since before 2008. i had my shutdown when I needed it for biz. lost a contract. at least it had no money

  6. Prosper Chikomo says:

    Madzviva unondisetsa zvekuti bhe!

    I once sent a press
    release to Techzim of one project, and it was found not worthy of publishing
    and from that day onwards I told myself I won’t send anything to Techzim. In
    fact, I mean….[ndichambhofunga kuti nditi chii]….. I think Techzim is not the
    platform to share what one is doing, unless maybe you are big, or Webdev, and
    based in Harare. I think if one has a blog then yeah, that would do.

    Like I said, I am not a programmer, and I don’t call myself
    one by virtue of not having a degree in programming. However, I have projects I
    do, and am working on. We could go on and on and on. Some people think I just
    talk just because I am a writer; no, I actually do stuff, and have even created
    stuff, including fully functional ecommerce sites that accept credit cards, not
    just for me but for others.

    Until the day I know what criteria Techzim uses to write
    about start-ups and some developments etc., I don’t think you will ever read
    about anything I do here. People will criticize me as a talker on the publicly
    visible platform, and not realize what is happening in the background.

    “So what was the project. Maybe it was useless” you may say.

    I think to this day what I did was worthy of mention because
    even to this day no one in Zimbabwe, authors, have done it.

    about a year ago, I published my book in several formats that you can even read
    it on a G-Tide “1G” cellphone, you therefore don’t need a computer or to go to
    Kingstons to get it. In fact, there are many other formats I created it in,
    myself, and like you said “some software companies were not started by
    programmers” You can actually read my stuff on Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook,
    Blackberry, iPhone, iPod touch etc, and I am even publishing on Amazon. The
    global trend is towards ebooks and I thought Techzim would be happy to find
    technology being applied to books in Zim, sadly I never got the mention. Maybe if
    I was Kingstons or Mambo press, or Milton Kamwendo or Daniel Chingoma it would
    be news. Not even kingstons, College press and all the big publishers in Zimbabwe are doing that.

    As for ecommerce sites, I think that is useless. I don’t
    think it is worth Techzim’s time, let alone my time, to post that I have a site
    that accepts credit cards and even paypal which so many ask about.

    My
    experience is just never bother to share or send press releases, and besides, it could be taken as
    free advertising. So I just write suggesting and offering insights I hope may
    help anyone who reads without revealing the real deal.

    Anyway, thanks to your “provokement,” this year I will only
    send one story about one of my projects to Techzim, if they feature it fine, if
    they don’t, don’t say I just talk.

    I walk the talk my friend (he he) Just because I have never
    been featured on Techzim, doesn’t mean I have nothing to show for my words.

    I am no motivational speaker. And I am not in Harare. Maybe
    that’s why. Seeing most covered stories are all in Harare, practically. Ever read
    a story about technology or start-ups in Mwenezi on Techzim?

    Thought so.

    That is not motivational stuff right there man/woman (laugh)

    1. What project did you send us that we decided not to publish? Can you communicate this information to me? email is kabweza [at] this domain.

    2. Madziva says:

      Boss every publication have an editorial policy and bureaucracies, priorities etc and most of the stuff depends on the opinions of the editors or owners of the platform. But what I will encourage you is PUSH, techzim right now seem to be the best platform to push anything technical on Zimbabwe, there is a rich user base of technically inclined Zimbabweans. So “as a marketer” if you fail to push the publicity through other means then you have keep trying with techzim. You can send me your email at zvepano@zol.co.zw so that I can also see and comment, give my ideas on the project you are pushing. However my opinion about motivational speakers remain.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Prosper, I enjoyed reading your post. One of my professors used to say “A developer is one who addresses people’s problems with the use of software, not one who holds a degree in Information Technology.” Just like many other talents, software development or engineering is something that is already in the individual even before they take computers 101 or intro to computers.

    I have a proposal for you. If you will entertain the idea, please contact me at regmmx@hotmail:twitter .com I have something you might like. Congratulations on “Turning Iron into Gold Golden Opportunities”. I’m ordering a copy. Stay passionate. take care  

  8. Telecomadvisor says:

    Zimbabweans cannot open a Paypal account specifically because of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act. As an American company PayPal is prohibited from doing business with Zimbabwe.

    Tried to link up with an Arizona solar energy company and they no no-ed because we are Zimbabweans. Pure sanctions and not restrictive measures as claimed by some idiots.

  9. Thank you for your comments.

    Kabweza,
    I will definitely contact you.

    Tapintel,
    normally I avoid getting involved in ideas of
    other people unless they make them public first. This is to avoid the
    situations like the one I read here about Makandiwa, where some guys were now claiming
    the idea as theirs etc. If it is public it makes it easier for everyone.

    You can read about what I mean here: http://www.techzim.co.zw/2011/08/controversy-as-local-vas-provider-sues-makandiwa

    TELECOMADVISER,
    this is why I said research ways around
    Paypal.

    Right now I was just reading about the South African guys at
    Stellenbosch who built the satellite, and this is South Africa’s second
    satellite.

    Those guys were saying sanctions on South Africa created a
    particular kind of breed of scientist in South Africa who now looks to solve
    the country’s solutions internally and without depending on foreign countries,
    hence SASOL.

     The same thing applies
    at an individual level.

    And believe me I am not a motivational writer or speaker.

    I got into the habit of researching, perhaps because I am a
    writer first and foremost and because I wanted my book to be a gem of a book,
    comparable to something a Harvard Professor would write but relevant all over
    the world, even in  developing countries
    particularly Zimbabwe, seeing that most US books are all about US businesses.
    In my book I even talk about Meikles, Econet, and other Zimbabwean companies.

    That habit of
    researching really helps. It’s the same thing that got me to create a java app
    of my book despite no knowledge of Java programming. My friends even read the
    book on their Nokia internet phones, and not the very advanced kind. These had
    no computers or tablets. I had such people in mind.

    I would encourage you to research because as it is, I accept
    Paypal on my website, without being directly connected to Paypal. Of course in
    Zimbabwe you cannot use PayPal but through some big specialist company BASED
    RIGHT IN THE UNITED STATES, you can accept Paypal payments. The company sells
    on your behalf, accepting Paypal payments, and it pays you if sales reach
    US$20, and payouts are weekly. It even has APIs. You will not be able to pay
    via PayPal, but you will accept PayPal sales/receive, and like I said, through
    a third party.

    I encourage you to research. I don’t like to give people
    things on the platter because I think it encourages a rusting of the mind.

    AND I THOUGHT ZIMBABWEANS ALWAYS FOUND A WAY?!!

    As an example, right now I sell my book as an e-book on
    Amazon, and yet Amazon.com actually pays me. I do not need Paypal, Amazon can
    send me a cheque. Remember, this is a U.S. company and many here love to give
    the excuse of so-called sanctions.

    NO, ITS NOT SANCTIONS! SANCTIONS ARE TARGETED!!!

    Paypal is not serving Zimbabwe simply because:

    (1) RBZ wants forex coming in and not going out (so-called
    externalization), but Paypal will have none of that as it does not want
    countries being protectionist and benefitting from  it that way, it wants two way payments,
    otherwise every country would make the same demands just to boost it’s forex
    reserves, destroying Paypal’s business model. Paypal would rather have country buy only than just sell.

    (2) Paypal is not in Zimbabwe because:

    Your banks man! Your pathetic indigenous banks! They are
    stupid!

    I went to one bank, and I was telling them I want to receive
    payments from the U.K. into my account and the person paying said i should supply a IBAN (international bank account number).

    Do you know what the stupid bank said?

    They said we have a bank in Germany, a corresponding bank,
    and the person must pay money into it, and from there it will come to me. I was
    given a bunch of numbers.

    I asked them, “Is this my bank account at that German bank
    or yours?”

    And the branch
    manager said, “It is ours”

    Then I asked, “So how will you know it is a payment to me?”

    They have their way of doing things that way, and it works,
    you will get your money.

    This model, which Zimbabwean banks use, is manual.

    But Paypal, as you know, doesn’t and cannot operate like
    that,….. with its APIs….I mean… how damn can you connect your bank
    account to Paypal via Paypal APIs with a system that uses papers and a
    middleman in Germany, paying into a bank account that is not yours?

    Paypal takes money directly from your account, and
    therefore, for that reason, it does not operate in Zimbabwe.

    Until such time that all banks accounts are directly
    connected to SWIFT (not the transport company) Paypal will stay put, even lying
    to you that it is not in Zimbabwe because of sanctions. Maybe they just say so
    in case sanctioned individuals contact them.

    Do you think if sanctions are lifted today paypal will come
    to Zimbabwe and still work, working with corresponding banks?

    Hell no!

    Only less than 3 banks in Zimbabwe I know are connected to
    SWIFT and can give you a international bank account number you can directly be
    paid to if Paypal was serving Zimbabwe.

    (3) Paypal is not in Zimbabwe because:

    The card density (read like credit card “teledensity” ) in
    Zimbabwe.

    One year ago, you only had the option of a Visa Gold card to
    be able to buy online. It cost a monthly income of US$600, at
    Stannadrd&Chartered and with such a high salary (and therefore job)
    requirement, how many people could afford it? None.

    And you then expect paypal to be in Zimbabwe, accepting
    credit card purchases and having access to your bank account?

    Then there is Mastercard. Mastercard only came to town
    recently. It wasn’t in Zimbabwe all the past years. If you remove mastercard
    and Visa, then there is no business for paypal in Zimbabwe.

    I don’t think paypal can have a problem blocking the names
    of individuals and companies that are under sanctions if it can simply not make
    Zimbabwe available on its country list, and even uses such sophisticated
    technology.

    So there!

    I finally had to say it because I have read posts here
    dozens of times of folks passing conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory, even
    Techzim itself, about why Paypal is not in Zimbabwe.

    If it was about ZDERA; Coca Cola, FEDEX, VISA and MasterCard
    would not be doing business in Zimbabwe. They are all U.S. companies!

    Heck, you would not even have hosting accounts with U.S.
    companies, and even pay them with your own Zimbabwe issues Visa cards!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Prosper, thanks for the reply. I did read the VAS article. What I’ve been trying to do, is connect with like-minded people preferably Zimbabweans, in a bid to stimulate an Open Source society where technology can be used to improve the standard of living for the average Zimbabwean citizen.

    I’ve looked in dismay as talent time and again is misdirected towards self-interest. Let’s admit, technology in Zimbabwe is being used to benefit venture capitalists or investors and not so much the general public. It has become a question of “How much can I charge per person” for any given technological solution. When we use technology only as a means to wealth, instead of a means to solutions, it deteriorates in value and leaves us in situations much like the one in the VAS article you directed me to.

    For months, I’ve done everything I could to try and contribute towards real solutions for Zimbabwe by inviting people to step up and collaborate. Perhaps Zimbabweans are not ready for real Open Source solutions, perhaps our need to fill our own pockets with cash has eroded any possibilities of a collaborative effort to use technology to effect change ? Sadly, this has become the reality for me.

    In a country where basic human rights are being violated, elections don’t effect change, we’re concerned about issues that don’t matter for 95% of the population. Shouldn’t we be working to develop platforms that discuss what Zimbabweans want in terms of a new constitution and how we can capture the true sentiments of the average Zimbabwean ? Technology is a voice to the world and mobile devices empower oppressed individuals and societies with the power of statistics … numbers don’t lie. To put it bluntly, I don’t give a cat’s whisker if you can use PayPal or not in Zimbabwe, I care more whether your vote as a citizen of Zimbabwe counts and whether your ideas of a new constitution will influence the future of Zimbabwe. I have real ideas for that and real solutions too.  

    This is not the platform for a political debate and I’m not looking for one but I’m looking for a better use of technology to effect change. Why can’t we develop Open Source solutions that can run pre-vote and post-vote polling ? Why can’t we develop platforms that candidates can use as free and unrestricted outlets for campaigns ? Why don’t we stop trying to copy the West, pursuing technologies that don’t do anything to change life for the average Zimbabwean citizen ? Perhaps it’s not time, perhaps technology was meant for a lesser role in our society ? It certainly appears so when one can’t even interest 10 people with the idea of freedom through technology. I wouldn’t be too surprised if this post is quickly deleted, lest it provoke awareness of an alternative use of technology, making for a free and progressive Zimbabwe.

    1. Prosper Chikomo says:

      I have read your post and now understand where you are
      coming from. Sadly I have my own projects I am doing and these are (some) not
      yet something you find in Zimbabwe and they are pretty attention-intensive.
      They are really different in terms of sophistication. Some are on the high-end
      of sophistication while some are low-sophistication. Plus they are at different
      stages of development. I have one I want to launch pretty soon.

      That your post can be deleted I perfectly understand. I really
      do. I just had my own post suggesting similar things you are saying deleted on
      the post about Masiyiwa getting Econet Nigeria back and likening what happened
      to him to Mawere. I could see the post inside Facebook, but on the front end it
      was not there (laugh)

      I simply said I hope to see a day when people will be able
      to mobilise the masses via FB to lobby their MPs and political parties to effect
      repealing the Reconstruction of State Indebted-Companies Act and in no time the
      post was deleted. I take no offence though.

      But I feel this is where you come in. I get the feeling you
      want to use open source as a development tool and change agent. Which is good.

      Right not the SOPA bill in the States is being vigorously
      challenged by many sites and even on Facebook and many websites are telling
      their customers and visitors to lobby their senators etc. to not vote for it. And
      the lobby system works. No one is saying people are going against the “government”.
      That’s democracy working. Same thing with Occupy Wall Street. Sadly right now
      even here if you were to comment something similar it appears your comment
      vanishes (laugh).

      Like I have always said let’s all think global and not just
      focus on Zimbabwe. That means for projects like yours, you might want to do it
      from outside Zimbabwe where you will have the freedom and protection to do so.
      If you intend having a site, I strongly recommend using whois privacy protection.

      I would really love it, to see a ANC MP outthink a Mavambo
      MP and show people he has better solutions for the country rather than for any
      party or its members to resort to organizing thugs and political violence.

      Using the US example, if SOPA passes through, even a
      Zimbabwean site can be taken down just because someone posted a comment that
      has “sopa” elements, even if it is not in the national interest of Zimbabwe.

      In the U.S., U.S. citizens and websites right now are opposing
      SOPA publicly and vigorously. There are no stories of senators inciting
      violence and even death to those who rally against SOPA.

      Now, in Zimbabwe the websites will not allow you to do that
      because they themselves are afraid of injury or death. Some webmasters even
      think it is politics you talk about but it is not, it is simply something that
      affects techpreneurs and techbusinesses, every citizen.

      In my opinion for example, the Reconstruction of State
      Indebted-Companies Act must be repealed and Mawere given his businesses.

      If not, then all companies that liquidate, and there are
      many doing so, must be handed over to the government if they owe even 2 rand to
      the government or state-owned utilities and the government runs them as well as
      it has done ZISVO, ZINWA, and GMB etc.

      That would show the law is being applied equally to everyone
      and not selectively to Mawere and Shabanie Mines.

      But sadly some people would think your idea of mobilization is
      politics or anti-ruling-party when there is a government of national unity and therefore
      no single ruling party. The government of Zimbabwe right now is made up of 3
      political parties that are ruling the country.

      Anyway …

      I suggest starting a Facebook page and growing it like
      no-man’s business even to over 100 000 members and continue doing so. There is
      power in numbers! Then when some stupid and undemocratic law is passed, relay
      why it should be opposed to your members via your powerful Facebook page,
      telling members to lobby their MP to not vote for the nonsense bill or the
      repealing of existing law.

      I know one Zimbabwean page that already has over 65 000
      members. Can you imagine if it was to call for say the citizenship law to be
      changed. 65 000 is already greater than 1% of the population that voted in 2008,
      and its growing. When the 65 000+ members tell their MPs by the thousands that
      they don’t want the rubbish bill in parliament, it will be democracy in action.
      Even if an MP belongs to Party A, he will go back and tell his party his entire
      constituency does not want the nonsense his party is suggesting becomes law. heck, ypou could become president if you do it right!

      Make sure you use a seperate stand-alone email address for nothing else, contact no one, and don’t meet anyone
      personally otherwise you will be gone in no time. Be anonymous. There are
      really some haters out there. And never use your name or a cellphone for FB.
      Run it from an internet café instead of your own computer.

      Remember, with open source everyone has access to the code.
      This is why I suggest Facebook which is in the control of the U.S. until the
      justice department tells Facebook to close that page, it will be there.

      And remember not to incite civil disobedience like in Egypt.

      Simply stick to democratic principles.

      Approaching your MP or sending him a letter or even posting
      on his page wall telling him you do not like the law parliament wants to pass
      is how democracy works, and should work. The MP represents the wishes of the people
      and therefore must listen to them.

      It’s just like telling the Reserve Bank its policies will
      hurt the economy and erode pensions. The Reserve Bank is a civil servant. Sadly
      many people have forgotten who is the boss of who.Like you, i am sure my post will be deleted too (laugh)

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