I paid a bribe and I didn’t like it

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Local developer Tawanda Kembo has setup Ipaidabribe, a website dedicated to uncovering corrupt activities in Zimbabwe, particularly the payment of bribes. The site was motivated by an encounter Kembo had with a police officer. Kembo says he was delayed and frustrated after being stopped by traffic police in an attempt to get him to cough up.

The goal of the Ipaidabribe website is twofold, firstly to collect as much information from members of the public about incidents of bribery. This Kembo hopes will discourage both parties who are involved in the perpetration of the crime. Secondly, the information and statistics collected from the site will be taken to “the relevant authorities” urging them to take action and to put in place the relevant systems to curb the vice.

Clearly there is value in urging citizens to become more proactive in combating bribery which has now become endemic. Ipaidabribe features the usual suspects of institutions where one may be solicited for a bribe. These include the police, passport office, vehicle inspection department (VID), municipal services, ZIMRA, ZESA among others. In response to alleged incidents of bribery, Harare has witnessed strikes by kombi drivers protesting harassment by traffic police. These incidents have been reported in the Daily News and The Herald.

In response to this public furore news reports spoke of the government removing traffic spot fines in an effort to curb bribes at police roadblocks. It was later revealed that the government was simply debating the issue but not removing them.

After putting up the site Kembo’s plan was to keep it below the radar as he worked to perfect its functionality. But as the saying goes ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans’ and indeed life happened. A report in Newzimbabwe featured a video from Ipaidabribe purportedly showing a police officer receiving a bribe. Hits to his site immediately skyrocketed.

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Ipaidabribe is an Ushahidi implementation and kembo says he’s built an app to allow sms submissions to be made, for those who have no Internet access or where access is limited. The app has since been submitted to the Forgetmenot App challenge.

An obvious concern is about the authenticity of submissions. Kembo says that submitters are encouraged to provide their name and email as a means of encouraging transparency. People are also unlikely to make false submissions if they append their name. He then makes every effort to verify each submission. Clearly, however this is not foolproof but it may reduce or minimise fake submissions. The other obvious issue then becomes that some submissions are not provided anonymously simply because people prefer anonymity in such matters.

As the service is picking up Kembo intends to bring someone to assist him with managing the service especially the social media aspect.

23 Comments

  1. concern says:

    Great idea, what Zimbabwe and Africa need! I think however think it should be more of social network driven…to increase participation of the public..

    1. tkembo says:

      Thanks for the suggestion.
      If any more ideas come up, feel free to post them on the feedback microsite: http://feedback.ipaidabribe.org.zw

      1. Brainy says:

        Do u thnk they dont knw wat is going in? Chombo has 200 knwn stand and wat have thy done abt it? The minstr of mine walks wit ngoda in his pockets , and thy knw it. Police vanetageti ye 15 00 local & 2500 pahigh way . Let u live wit it. And why do we still have election when …. U knw the rest of the story . Happy pple.

  2. concern says:

    @Brian Gondo or @Soul Kwabeza, to show my support for this initiative I am offering this guys free web hosting for life. Please contact me or tell him to contact me on cshoko AT gmail or support AT mega24.co.za

    1. tkembo says:

      The offer is much appreciated. I will drop you an email… Its going to be very difficult to find a hosting package which is cheaper than free 🙂

    2. Member says:

      good hosting price there, make it US$ if u r targeting zimbos and let us know how we can make the payments

      1. concern says:

        Hi Member, thanks for the compliment, we offer hosting to anyone anywhere in the world, though we are based in SA.We also offer domain registrations for ZW, ZA, LS, BW and .com, .org, .net and more. The USD prices are $3/month for BASIC, $5/month for LITE, $10/month for STANDARD and $15/month for UNLIMITED. Please refer to mega24.co.za on what this packages offer. Payments within Zimbabwe can be via cash deposit or bank transfer to an account at MBCA Bank. Any other country you can use credit card, cash deposit, electronic bank transfer, or paypal. @Kwabeza apologies in advance….you can send the invoice… 🙂

  3. Member says:

    Great idea. It works well in Kenya where they launched a site with same name ipaidabribe.or.ke sometime ago

    1. tkembo says:

      I am confident it will work well here as well. The response has been great so far

  4. JamesM says:

    Brilliant initiative Tawanda Kembo, keep it up! While one hopes that reported cases are dealt with by ‘revelant authorities’ trouble is the ‘relevant authorities’ are the biggest perpetrators of such extortion. I hope somewhere on your site you can assure visitors that their experiences are reported to credible enforcement agencies even if those agencies don’t necessarily abode within Zim borders.

  5. macdchip says:

    l like, great idea, thanx Kembo. Im spreading the news to whoever l can get in contact with. It have to work!

  6. Zim Observer says:

    Although I applaud the initiative, I am kind of worried that the best we can do as Zimbabweans is copy work from other countries. As Zimbabweans, it remains to be seen if we will ever be able to sire an idea of our own (other than the Gwatamatic Of Course)

    1. Mjamme says:

      I agree with your comment, however I think Ushahidi.com is a great platform to start these initiatives that can show progress in Zim. Zim has got developer, but someone needs to give them the opportunity to start creating stuff like Ushahidi. As Africans we need to collaborate and by using our own tools we can then demonstrate progress.
      http://www.africagathering.org

    2. sometimes we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, If its there and it works, then we use that tried and tested method.

  7. P says:

    The link for the website in the article goes to: http://ipaidabribe.phpfogapp.com/ which does not seem to work. Is it not supposed to go to: http://www.ipaidabribe.org.zw/

  8. muzukuru says:

    hezvoooo, site is down

    1. We were pointing to the old site. They moved it to http://ipaidabribe.org.zw/

      1. tkembo says:

        and the hosting there is provided by mega24.co.za BTW

  9. Missing a comma after Zimbabwe in the first paragraph.

    1. tinm@n says:

      i guess the syntax error crashed your system?

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