Minister of Education, Lazarus Dokora
In the latest development regarding the ownership dispute of eMAP, Zimbabwe’s online enrolment system, Purple Divine Technology – the local software development firm claiming ownership and control of the system recently sought an interim order to stop the Ministry from using the system.
This follows a request to cease using the system that Purple Divine technology sent to the Ministry of Education earlier this week.
According to the Herald Nyasha Matongo, the director of Purple Divine technology filed papers with the High Court on the 15th of December with the Minister of Education Dr Lazarus Dokora cited as the only respondent.
Matongo has accused the Ministry of stealing and pirating his idea. In his application, he is seeking an order to compel Dokora to close down and stop using eMAP and to surrender all documentation which he received in the preparations that led to the setting up of the online portal which Purple Divine Technology had named Purple.
In his submission, Matongo attached minutes of meetings held with the Ministry along with other correspondence between the two parties.
He has made the case that Purple Divine Technology has been exposed to financial losses since they had developed the system with plans to patent it and sell it across the region. He also raised the concern that Dokora or his company could steal the concept and benefit from it by claiming to own it.
While the Ministry of Education is yet to respond to this action it’s clear that this case is likely going to at the very least set an example of how startups and developers partnering with entities need to secure ownership of ideas or systems.