Will social media curb electoral fraud in Zambia?We start our tour around the tech scene in Africa with some news on an interesting application utilising social media in Zambia.
Today Zambians are going to the polls to elect their next president, parliament and local governments. As in the past, there are fears of election fraud and violence, but this time there is an innovative mechanism in place to prevent misconduct. The secret is a crowd-sourced monitoring service, where citizens themselves report any irregularities they may see at the polling stations.
[caption id="attachment_927" align="aligncenter" width="411"] Image Credit: bantuwatch.org[/caption]
How electorates use this platform
There are a number of ways electorates can report irregularities: (i) Voters simply send an SMS to a short code using their mobile phones (ii) Visit www.bantuwatch.org to report incidents online, or (iii) Tweet with hashtags #bantuwatch and #ZambiaElections. Reported incidents will be verified by official election observers, who can then act on the information quickly.
The service was launched last week and reports have already started coming in.
Bantuwatch is a service for crowd-sourced information built on the Ushahidi platform (more about them in the future, promise).
The initiative is run by Zambia's civil society and social media representatives under SACCORD (Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes - Probably the Longest Abbreviation Around :)). The campaign is said to have been welcomed by the parties running for office, and hopefully it will help with maintaining a more peaceful and fair election day today. Fingers crossed….
Sign up for our newsletter
Be in the know! Sign up to receive the latest updates from MEST, our partners and the African tech ecosystem.
Due to COVID-19, MEST postpones training program to next year and doubles down on growing portfolio companies
At MEST, we continue to be deeply concerned about COVID-19 and have been closely monitoring developments locally and globally. Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our community and we will continue to follow local authority and health official guidelines.
Due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic and the uncertainty that the future of travel holds, we have been unable to conduct in-person interviews and host recruitment around Africa for our next cohort. For this reason, we have taken the decision to postpone the Training Program to next year.
While these circumstances are indeed unfortunate, we see this as an exciting opportunity at MEST to double down on providing support and mentorship to our existing portfolio companies and the African ecosystem.
Congratulations MEST Class of 2019: Graduation Weekend Recap
A recap of the MEST Africa Class of 2019's Graduation weekend