Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been criticized for opening community information centers, which some people have lightly termed internet cafes, and challenged him to do much more significant as the president, understandably.
While most presidents in Africa and world over are on record of officially commissioning huge industrial projects, R’n’D centers, amazing transport systems and many more, Zimbabweans have demanded even more from the president.
However the reality on ground has proved that what may seem to be nothing more but an Internet cafe is really more than that. To date 80 Communication Information Centres (CICs) have been launched in Zimbabwe and 90 more are targeted .
As TechnoMag we have witnessed the launch of more than half of these, from day one, we witnessed the first launch of Zvimba Community Information Center.
This was more than four years ago, and hundreds turned out to witness the development, which was coincided with an international event commemoration.
If 80 information centers can be launched in all our rural or remote areas and this does not make sense to most of the literate people who demand access to information for all around the nation then we are arm chair critics.
There are many areas where are our grand mothers, father and cousins are staying today, in complete disconnection because even if the mobile Network Operators connect, they will be doing a mere community service, since there is no business case in the area.
Yes that’s the duty of the USF funds and so does it also makes sense to have a non-mobile connection site for those who cant even afford the mobile device in the first place.
I have never been a rural folk, but I know most rural folks who study on candles and still came out with flying colors and these today are leaders driving various successful enterprises in Zimbabwe, but whom would have ever thought.
The mere fact that most guys in Harare and urban cities have mobile data and unlimited access points to connect, without ever needing a fully fledged digital internet cafe, should not mean that Zimbabwe is fully digitized.
Today, right now as I am writing this article, there is someone who has never seen or touched a computer, they have been only told or taught of such technology and simply waiting to one day possibly come closer to these gadgets.
Imagine you one day visit these areas and thankfully all you needed to do was pass by the internet cafe to connect and update your colleagues, business partner or employer for the woods.
I have heard to endure no connectivity in some rural areas and all I wanted was just 5minutes online to update the other side of the world, but unfortunately, my area was of no business interest to any mobile operator.
If lives are going to be touched in this way, slowly but surely allowing the rural, folk to wait in a queue to study, research and more importantly, even communicate with us in towns, is this not an amazing thing.
Have we ever thought of them being able to communicate with us of any emergency, family issue or maybe in video or images from the rurals.
What makes American internet great is not just the gadgets and speed, but availability of infrastructure which spawns over thousands of kilometres.
But remember at a certain time, there were certain areas in developed countries which never had connectivity, they never had phone lines, electricity and let alone internet connectivity. Such areas are still there in developed countries.
Something had to start and just when we begin completing the rural square, we make huge jokes about one of the few serious developments in connecting Zimbabwe.
The most important thing that we should worry about is on how the infrastructure is going to be maintained and kept for the community in good use to continuously benefit the community as planned. Like the president once said during the Launch in Dangamvura, “Our People have a problem of destroying and destruction.”
This should be our number one enemy not, critiquing the initial efforts, at least for now lets appreciate the drive and need to connect Zimbabwe wholly.
There are few areas where something is happening in Zimbabwe, give credit to those few ones, for a start.
What many have rather laughed at was having the whole president opening an information centre, which more or less functions as an n internet cafe.
Does this mean that we appreciate the relevance of such and would rather have someone else junior do the opening job who is not the president?
This is what many people think and still I beg to differ!!
Zimbabweans are corrupt, from the government, ministries, ministers and responsible arms to the same headmaster who is going to receive computers for free if done privately.
Atleast when the president comes in to open and promises to do more, then that’s the only guarantee that the community will actually benefit, Most corrupt government officials only run around to perfect their work when the president or his office is involved.
The fact that he is the patron and the visionary of such a move, well he may as well do it himself as and when he is capable, and lets not look at who but why.
I have over explained the need to understand our Zimbabwean dynamics, which makes cafes as well more important in some areas in Zimbabwe and if these are going to touch lives and open up opportunities for that kid deep down in reserves , then the president needs to be there and open more cafes.
If you don’t know of any rural folk who never thought one day he will be in the cities, but today is the top CEO, engineer, minister then these Community information centre may probably bring us the next president.
The rural folk generally lack information on most issues, be it social, economic and political, and when they finally get informed, people make a joke about it, surely information is scarce in the urban community than we even think.
Unfortunately we all love to tweet with open words and shut mind.
Next time before filling up your 140 characters, think about the marginalized, who could tweet better than you!