You’re missing out on free internet at CICs here in Zimbabwe

Leonard Sengere Avatar

For many years, Potraz has been taking our tax money and saying that they are using it to improve internet access across Zimbabwe. This Universal Service Fund (USF) that they collect has been a major burden on mobile network operators (MNOs), especially Econet.

So, where can we see our tax dollars in action? The Community Information Centres (CICs), of course. Potraz is using USF to fund the CIC project.

Community Information Centres are “public places where people can access computers, the Internet and other digital technologies that enable them to gather information, create, learn and communicate with others while they develop essential digital skills”.

Potraz is constructing 32 CICs at the moment and when those are completed, there will be 202 in total across the country. Not all of them were constructed from scratch. In some places, they used existing buildings, especially the underutilized Post Offices across Zimbabwe.

The Post Office in my neighbourhood got its CIC treatment a year ago. I had never actually been able to check it out. You know, to see my tax dollars at work.

The CIC was closed for months as they tended to an internet problem. So, I was checking almost every day to see if it would open again. I was afraid we could be impressed with the 202 CICs figure when there was nothing on the ground.

I’m happy to report that today, I found the CIC open and ready to welcome me in.

You may recall that CICs comprise the following:

  • Renovated or constructed building
  • Furniture for housing computers, servers and other equipment
  • Internet connectivity through Optic Fibre or VSAT which is then accessed via cabled LAN and Wi-Fi.
  • 10- to 32 Computers Per CIC depending on the size of each CIC
  • A minimum of twelve(12) computers for the training room including a projector and whiteboard
  • Printing, scanning and fax facilities
  • Gaming facilities – PlayStation, ancillary equipment and related screens for children to learn decision-making skills.

That’s not the case with the one in my neighbourhood. For now, all that’s available is internet access, none of the gaming or projector stuff. They don’t even have computers, you have to bring your own phone or laptop (or desktop I imagine).

I think access to devices is a huge problem but I’m not too mad that the one in my neighbourhood doesn’t have computers. I think they can prioritise CICs in the rural areas when it comes to that. However, eventually, we would like to see computers in all CICs.

The CIC I visited was clean and there were more than 13 stalls, all with access to power. I plugged in my computer and got to work. I was grateful for the power cause ZESA is killing me.

When it comes to internet speed, I think I have been spoilt by Liquid Home a little and so I found the CIC internet slow but not unusable. In fact, I think it’s better than mobile internet for most people and if you’re used to ADSL, you’ll find it faster.

I tested it and got 0.19Mbps down and 2.17Mbps up in the morning and 0.9Mbps down and 1.02Mbps up during lunchtime. Those speeds won’t knock your socks off but for a free service can you really complain?

You can try out the CIC closest to you. If you’re not sure where to look, try your Post Office first. Most of them were renovated to include CICs. We will update this article with the full list of CIC locations.

It might be the lifesaver you need when ZESA does its thing or when that data bundle becomes elusive.

Go in with a bounce in your step because it’s already paid for. You have been paying for CICs because part of every dollar you have paid for airtime has gone to this.

Potraz is on record decrying that CICs are underutilized. So, they will welcome you with open arms. Usatyire kure dear Zimbo.

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  1. Bornwell

    Thats good I need it

  2. GG

    There is an CIC in Mberengwa at Mnene hospital which has never been used by it’s look . Government does not really care whether it is used or not. The place is over grown with waist high dry grass and it may end up burnt by wild fires.

    1. Zugi

      Custodianship of public facilities is important.

      While I’m not the volunteering type, on clean up day I show up at my CIC and help out.

      You could do the same over there in Mberengwa.

  3. GG

    There is an CIC in Mberengwa situated at Mnene hospital which has never been used since it was built and is surrounded by waist high dry grass which I’m afraid my catch fire if a careless person throughs a cigarette but in its vicinity.

  4. Unknown

    Can U help with the locations of those CIC

  5. NPC

    Some mwana wevhu is going to attempt to monitize this

    1. Fleeced

      Was made to pay for the service when I visited one in Ruwa

  6. Anonymous

    I’ve been going to CIC in my town since late 2020. It’s a great initiative.

  7. Tinashe

    Informative indeed thanks a lot. I just want to compliment your writing skill, you are really good it feels original and natural. Even if you are not interested in the subject you will feel the need to finish. It feels like you are having a conversation with the article, the sense of humor also goes unnoticed. Keep up.

  8. Munya

    Any CIC in Mutare?

    1. A Level

      Yes….in Dangamvura paBoka near Dangamvura High but ngwarira sometimes the “operator” there treats the facility like it is her father’s and you are only given an hour per day so better bring a laptop for speed

      1. Munya


      2. Munya

        Thanks a lot

  9. Tinotenda

    Hi tech guys.
    I wld lyk to ask that it’s been a week now since l bought a liquid home line but it’s not working. The sim is showing up on the network bar without any sign of network. Cld there be any settings that r needed beside registering the line?.

    Help please

  10. Tinotenda

    Hi tech guys
    I wld lyk to ask that it’s been a week now since l bought a liquid home line but it’s not working. The sim is showing up on the network bar without any sign of network and I’m wondering what cld be problem coz l went through the registration process. My phone is 4G.
    Please kindly assist

    1. Michael N

      did you config network settings of your device

      1. Tino

        Perhaps I have a few gaps in my knowledge, how do I go about it?

  11. Fleeced

    Was made to pay for the service when I visited one in Ruwa

    1. Kudzai

      ln Chegutu its at the local main Post Office..there they make you part with your $1 in order for you to access service for one hour

  12. Tonderai

    They need to advertise the service better. Outside of commissioning, this is the first I’ve heard of them from an operational viewpoint.

  13. Isaac

    I have long told you wani pano. I think rato gore rechi3

    1. Isaac

      Kwanzi anotodarika


    That cic in Gutu post office is over a year off, not even a phone can be connected. The attended will be busy at the backend office doing other of his/her own work. No service but the door is opened at 8 bells in the morning and closes at 4pm, daily. Kuripwa kugara pabasa.

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