We were tagged in a tweet by The App Guy – @zimexapp (real name Washington Mkombodzi) who was notifying us about an application/website in development called the Zimbabwe Married Men Database. Now, the first thing that crossed my mind is that as men in Zimbabwe have we failed so hard that an app developer sees the need to create a database to catalogue married men to be searchable upon command? I’ll let you all answer that in the comments.
Anyway, since that platform is still in development we reached out to Washington to give us more information about it.
How to register
According to Washington, when the platform is up and running you can register your spouse by providing their ID, a marriage certificate where available and or pictures from your lobola. So pretty much what we expected to be part of the registration procedure but there are some concerns we had and we shared them with Washington to see how they will be addressing these. I mean… after all this is sensitive information that is going on in a public forum…
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The internet is filled with people who for a lack of a better term, “have more time than they know what to do with“. We have seen some internet trolls ZOOM bomb government meetings during the pandemic and even impersonate people on social media. The internet is a blessing, but the curse is that the human imagination can play within the bounds of any kind of technology taking what may have been made with good intentions somewhere sinister.
1. Can someone register me without my consent or with fake documents?
Now, imagine someone tries to play a dirty trick on you and registers you as married or in a relationship with someone you don’t know. This could complicate things if this website takes off and people are cross-referencing you and your name pops up as married or in a relationship.
As I am sure many guys are aware, this is something that will be very difficult to explain to your would-be or present significant other. Even if the verification process requires someone to confirm either via email, SMS etc. Anyone can register you through a dummy number they have because most Zimbabweans have two or more sim cards for a variety of purposes.
Furthermore, someone can easily fabricate the documentation and sign you up. There are so many low-effort editing tools out there that this is a breeze for most people…
To this issue, Washington said, “there will be a link to take down a submission“. The process is not long according to what we were told: “if a person proves they are not married to the person who submitted the info, it will be taken down immediately“. Additionally, this is a platform that he says is for couples so if the other party will need to consent to be on the database or they can go through the takedown process.
And in the event that someone or a couple wants their information taken down altogether they can do so…
2. Is the information stored on the Zimbabwe Married Men Database safe?
The question begs yet another question… Shouldn’t this be something the government spearheads? By this I mean if there is anyone who should be doing this then it is surely the government, right? They have this information at their disposal and would be better placed to run something like this. I say this because Tanzania in 2019 was said to be looking into something similar to curb infidelity.
“I have been receiving complaints from women who have been promised marriage by men, yet the men didn’t fulfill the promise. I know women who have been paying bills yet the men walked away… If possible we will set up a database in the regional commissioner’s office in each region that every man who promises a woman marriage, this should be registered in the database which will allow women to check to see whether the person asking is married”Paul Makonda, Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner (via CNN)
I am not knocking what Washington is trying to do but leaks have plagued companies as large as Facebook over the years with information as sensitive as contact details of people including Mark Zuckerberg’s phone number making its way onto a forum on the web. The security of any information that is voluntarily offered is an issue that I and many others. To that concern, Washington said that the Zimbabwe Married Men Database will be on Amazon Web Services to store the information. Now, this isn’t an ironclad thing but at the very least using a platform that is tried and tested…
Let me know what you think
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments because the concerns we raised aren’t the only ones…