Last week, Transparency International Zimbabwe (TI-Z), launched an Interactive SMS Platform to help Zimbabweans report corruption activities in the country. Witnesses and victims of corruption will be able to send SMSs to the platform to report such cases as bribery and cheating, says the communication we got from the organisation. Since last week, TI-Z says it has already received about 150 SMSs reports.
The SMS itself is a regular SMS sent to a regular mobile number (+263 775 220 700) and costing the regular US 9 cents. Being a regular number, anyone, even those outside Zimbabwe can report relevant corruption activities on the platform. According to TI-Z the information received will be processed via a web application accessed securely by TI-Z designated staff.
The information received is used to help craft anti-corruption strategies by the organisation. This, the organisation says, also helps inform public policy on corruption. The organisation also clarified to us that pertaining to the individuals reporting the cases the information “in most instances” is used to assist the victims and witnesses of corruption. The organisation says it contacts the senders and informs them on how the information they have reported will be used and at this point the senders are free to agree or refuse this further action. Assistance for the witnesses and victims is provided via TI-Z’s Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC).
As these people are basically whistle blowers who run the risk of victimization and the SMS technology by design is not anonymous, we sought clarification from TI-Z on how they will ensure anonymity of the people reporting to the platform. A response received from the company says they use secure technologies to protect the information on their platform.