Can ‘Not In My Country’ help fight corruption at Zim universities & colleges?

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“We focus on universities because students are the future leaders. Corruption is so pervasive in Kenya that it has created a generation that is unable to change. The values and life of university students, on the other hand, are still forming. If students learn at university that they can buy their grades and bypass bureaucracy by selling their bodies, the resulting cynicism will persist into their future careers.” – Not in My Country Kenya

image via: notinmycountry.org

image via: notinmycountry.org

First learnt about notinmycountry.org last year and immediately knew it’d be an absolute need for Zim colleges & universities. I remember even back 12 years ago when I was in college corruption had settled in already. People would pay lecturers to get the paper in advance. They’d pay for invigilators to look the other way or leave the room. They’d pay to have lecturers provide software projects from previous years (the software on floppy disc as well as the documentation, proposals and all) for the young corrupt minds to copy and paste!

Guys would just pay cash (or buy beer) but I wonder how bad it was for the female students…

Now everyday business in Zimbabwe is openly corrupt. I spent some two years as head of the tech department at an NGO where I was offered kickbacks by all sorts to influence procurement decisions. Criminals pay to be let go by the police. Ordinary people pay to get their driver’s license and the result is (predictably) more accidents on the roads, and the otherwise avoidable traffic logjams. The municipal workers openly expect a bribe to not disconnect you for unpaid water bills. Thank god for the prepaid electricity!

Digressing because there’s so much to say on this… Point is with so much open corruption in society, how bad is it now at colleges? What kind of graduates is this system producing? And not to forget that corruption is a two party transaction where both parties willingly decide to take a shortcut to a desired end. Can notinmycountry.org give a voice to those that would otherwise have nowhere to report in country that’s normalizing this disease?

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notinmycountryI was reminded of notinmycountry.org after reading on Kenya’s Sunday Nation that a group of 15 graduates in Kenya have localised the whistle-blowing website to help students report indecent activities by university lecturers and administrative personnel. And to do it anonymously.

Of course there’s the reality that, like anything that opens up the opportunity of anonymous communication to everyone, it can be abused. Without knowing how they take care of that possibility, I wonder if they could use some of the methods employed by Deloitte in their Tip-offs Anonymous initiative so it’s a fusion of the power of grassroots crowdsourced reports that tech avails, and the ‘integrity’ of a good old auditing process.

Either way, I wish we could bring something like this to Zimbabwe. It, or our own flavor of it that’s sensitive to local nuances so the net effect is not in the negative. We need it.

Will it help?

10 Comments

  1. Robert Ndlovu says:

    Whistle blowing would be useful but it depends to whom you are blowing the whistle to hoping he himself is not corrupt.Its like reporting a thief to the Chief of Thieves.

  2. Robert Shaw says:

    Awesome article. All the problems you listed with corruption in Universities in Zimbabwe really underscores the need for https://www.notinmycountry.org/ . As for the concerns about potential abuse I believe they are well addressed here: https://kenya.notinmycountry.org/blog/2013/04/some-comments-potential-abuse-site

  3. macdchip says:

    Nyaya yehuwori ndiyo inonditadzisa kushandira nyika yangu.

    I love my country, bt it seems now you are frowned at if you are not corrupt.

    Corruption have settled right in our homes and its now normal to pay or get paid a bribe in everything you do.

    1. now you are frowned at if you are not corrupt.

      The sad truth of how sick we have become.

  4. Time says:

    Straying a little of topic here but the article said a little on how ordinary people have to pay for their licences….Yes there are those that can’t really drive that do pay for them but even the perfect driver still has to pay as it seems the VID will only pass you if you get the 1 out of the 7 test instructers that isnt corrupt or you organise the bribe so that they pass you though you would have passed the legal way. And if you dare try report any of them, you will be secretly blacklisted and can forget about getting your license in Harare and will have to go to cities like Kadoma.

  5. tinm@n says:

    Its just hectic at University. I have my own cousin(a girl) who needed to get student residence at MSU, and the person(s) in charge (a student and official) wanted sexual favors. Its really sickening but not new.

    Same thing happened at NUST and way back in early 2000. The dean of students at that time had his own issues, and female students were particular targets.

    In the classroom environment you would see/hear of some level of corruption but it was very hard to pinpoint or prove. Proving would actually mark you for victimisation. Chances of even getting an appeal would be futile and also expose you to being victimised. The golden rule(during my time) was dont make enemies with the lecturer(s). It would take a whole lot of effort to be considered for an appeal if there was an issue. Odds were always against those who tried.

  6. Future says:

    Agreed! great and grounded article.

  7. Dogstar says:

    Corruption is a cancerous (sic), social problem that needs government intervention and will. But then again are they both there in the Gvt?

  8. Brian Mubvumbi says:

    Weeding out corruption begins with individuals we need to resist this thing no Govt or institution will weed out this thing that has killed the moral fiber of the people.

  9. Chris Mberi says:

    The fact that we are talking more and about corruption, means the issue is slowly taking center stage and this has happened through experience in our past where this generation has come to learn and understand the terrible effects of corruption previously taken for granted by out parents and grand parent. I believe this is where social media and technology in general could help a great deal and we also have to start teaching about pride and honor right from kindergarten.

    IPaidABribe.org.zw

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