Win $20 000 in the ‘Bots for Messenger Challenge’

 

by Munya Bloggo

For many years Facebook has been promoting innovation across the Middle East and Africa, providing startups with the tools they need to build, grow, monetize, and measure. Facebook grew out of a hacker culture and thrives on seeking out and promoting innovation on new platforms. That’s why they are launching the Bots for Messenger Challenge, a contest to recognize and reward developers who are able to create the most innovative new bots across the Middle East and Africa. Moto Republik will partner with Facebook for one of the last hackathons for the “Bots For Messenger Challenge” which will focus on Social Good, with winners standing a chance to win USD $20 000.

 

What is social good?

Social Good is an action that provides some sort of benefit to the general public in the greatest possible way.

The Moto Republik Messenger Bots Hackathon For Social Good will be a full day on Saturday 22 April 2017 bringing together Zimbabwe’s emerging civic hackers, programmers, designers, data experts, civic organizers, social entrepreneurs and public sector practitioners who will converge to build Messenger bots that solve various social problems in Zimbabwe. Teams of up to 3 people are invited to participate in hackathon.

Some important rules to note:

  1. Bots must be created, and will be verified, between February 15, 2017 to April 28, 2017. Bots created before February 15, 2017 will not be eligible to participate.
  2. Bots must comply with all Facebook for developers Messenger Platform developer guidelines and rules, and use the Messenger Platform API.
  3. Bots must be created on the Facebook Messenger Platform (but entrant may use any third-party tool to create or add functionality). Bots on any other platform will not be accepted.
  4. Bots must be created by people in the Entrant’s home region of either (i) the Middle East and North Africa or (ii) Sub-Saharan Africa.
  5. Bots may be in any language (or combination of languages). Only the Bot Submission must be entirely in English.
  6. It is optional to submit a link to an online video of the bot, but if you do, the video must be under 2 minutes long.
  7. Bots can be submitted by an individual, a team of up to 3 people, or as an organization.

Judging Criteria:

  • Technical Quality – How well does the Bot use the Messenger platform features? [35%]
  • Non-Technical Quality – What is the degree of excellence of the Bot, taking into account the Bot’s distinctive attributes and characteristics (except for the technical aspects)? [35%]   
  • User Experience – How useable is the Bot for the intended audience, including how well the conversation flows? [30%]  

Teams & individuals are required to register to participate in the Moto Republik edition of the hackathon via the Eventbrite Page. 

For More information visit https://messengerchallenge.splashthat.com

 

Contact:

 

Munyaradzi Dodo

munya@magambanetwork.com

Cellphone: +263779604727

In the midst of political confusion

 

by  Linda Tsungirirai Masarira 
In the midst of the political confusion that has gripped our country, many people are wondering if we have come to the end of Zimbabwe.
The answer is simple: the thing called an “end” does not exist, not in relation to a country. Zimbabwe will be there long after Mugabe is gone.
What Mugabe has done is to make us come to the realization that ours is colonization by our own fellow brothers. From the frying pan into the fire.
Towards the end of March, innocent Zimbabwean citizens were illegally evicted from Arnold farm in Mazowe. ZRP acting on the first lady Grace Mugabe’s instructions defied a high court ruling against the evictions at Arnold farm. Houses were demolished and the little property they had was ferried off the farm by police vehicles and they were dumped on the roadside of river farm.

These displaced families are surviving on wild fruits and sleeping in the open for nearly two weeks now. I am trying to understand why a mother and a woman would do that to other women and children? Principalities in Africa manifest in strange ways. This is an abhorrent violation of human rights.

We must all thank Mugabe for revealing our true African character; that the idea of rule of law is not part of who we are, and that constitutionalism is a concept far ahead of us as a people.
How else are we to explain the thousands of people who flock to stadiums to clap hands for a president who has violated their country’s constitution? Such people have no idea of constitutionalism.
Now that we have reclaimed our place as another African country, we must reflect on and come to terms with our real character, and imagine what our future portends.
In a typical African country, ordinary people don’t expect much of politicians, because people get tired of repeated empty promises.
In a typical African country, people have no illusions about the unity of morality and governance. People know that those who have power have it for themselves and their friends and families.
The idea that the state is an instrument for people’s development is a Western concept and has been copied by pockets of Asian countries. Africans and their leaders don’t like to copy from the West. They are happy to remain African, and do things “the African way”.
The African way is rule by kings, chiefs and indunas in a setting of unwritten rules. Is there anyone who has seen a book of African customary laws? The idea that a commoner can raise questions about public money spent on the residence of a king is not African.
Asking a ruler to be accountable is a foreign – Western – idea. In a situation where there is a conflict between a ruler and laws, Africans simply change the laws to protect the ruler. This is why no single white person has called for King Dalindyebo to be released from jail.
The problem with clever blacks is that they think they live in Europe, where ideas of democracy have been refined over centuries. What we need to do is to come back to reality, and accept that ours is a typical African country. Such a return to reality will give us a fairly good idea of what Zimbabwe’s future might look like.
This country will not look like Denmark. It might look like Nigeria, where anti-corruption crusaders are an oddity.
Being an African country, ours will not look like Germany. Zimbabwe looks like Kenya, where tribalism drives politics.
People must not entertain the illusion that a day is coming when Zimbabwe will look like the US.  What will become of our future when one ruler is more powerful than the rest of the population. Even if someone else were to become president, it would still be the same, if we do not change our mindsets.
The idea that a president can resign simply because a court of law has delivered an adverse judgment is Western. Only the Prime Minister of Iceland does that; African rulers will never do that. The idea of an African president resigning because he is too ill to rule is for Doug Ferguson former president of Canada.
Analyzed carefully, the notion of Zimbabwe coming to an “end” is an expression of a Western value system – of accountability, political morality, reason, and so on.
Linda Tsungirirai Masarira is the Founder  & National Coordinator of ZWIPA
Featured courtesy of Newsday 

A thief was caught, and the truth was bled out of him

 

by Lawrence Mainja

To some, the picture of a dreadlocked young man receiving a vicious beating and confessing to theft is nothing but a case of instant justice. A thief was caught, and the truth was bled out of him. Simple.

To others, the mild violence is nothing but a mirroring of societal frustrations that are a result of muffled political voices.

In this clip, it is difficult to separate the horror from dark humor. Most find themselves both horrified but sometimes entertainment by the confession and the conversation.

Mahatma Gandhi the go-to guy for pacifists once observed that “poverty is the worst form of violence.”

Without inferring too much into the economic background of the parties involved in this public service of justice, it is easy to notice that the setting of this public court jesting smells of the downtrodden-ness and poverty that characterize the daily life of our 93-year-old president’s beloved jewel. Gandhi further objected to violence saying, “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” It is refreshing that the thief does confess but this sets out a bad precedent for all those who catch suspected thieves. They will be tempted to beat them and record. And, we become more lawless and brutal than we are right now. But, this also has deeper roots beyond the man with the whip – our government.  

For decades, violence has remained the modus operandi of those in power. Its use though minimal has been effective. Relying on shock and the sensationalism that characterize the soap opera of the Stunner-Olinda types. The cases of violence though limited have managed to cripple a nation. Outright violence has been replaced by outright fear. In those emotionally brutalized by the state, the only outlet is the brutalization of fellow men.

Because a veneer of law and order exists, it is those who are deemed to be living at the edge of morality who have become victims and objects of the pacification of citizen rage. Petty thieves, errant children, prostitutes and cheaters are now unwitting symbols as well as victims of violence.

Now, we all believe that individuals who break the law should be dealt with accordingly. The question raised by many is; is the kind of punishment capture by camera worth the crime.

A number of videos have emerged that show mild violence. This other day, someone posted a video on a Whatsapp Group of police officers beating up a couple they found in an uncompromising position in the woods. Am sure laws exist to prosecute such crimes or misdemeanors. But, beating up two consenting adults just because you found them in the woods shows the level of uncontrollable rage in our daily lives, rage that finds its outlet in the brutalization of so-called misfits.

The dreadlocked man who stole a bunch of cell phones committed a mortal sin of theft. In a nation of laws, the thief should be arrested arraigned before the courts and a balanced sentence administered. But, we are not a nation of laws.
More is at stake in the next election. Videos of ‘ugly’ Zimbabweans like this one will continue to appear on online platforms. In a better nation with equal application of the law, they would be videos about foolishness without the backdrop of violence caused by muffled political voices.

7 Things You Need To Know About Zimbabwean Police Roadblocks

 

By Kalabash Contributor 

In the past years, Police roadblocks have become a fundraising platform for our broke government. With most motorists ignorant of police conduct they have been left at the mercy of the police. It is no secret the majority of Zimbabweans are economically hard-pressed and below is some things you should know about police roadblocks.

1. A police officer is obligated to tell you their name along with their force/service number and the police station they come from when attending to you at a roadblock.

2. Your driver’s license disk is private property so the policeman attending to you is obligated to return it to you the instant you ask for it back. A policeman isn’t allowed to attend to another car once they have stopped you at a police roadblock.

3. A vehicle cannot be impounded on the basis that the driver doesn’t have money to pay a spot fine. If you do not have money to pay a spot fine be sure to ask for a “Form 265”  which affords the motorist 7 days to pay the fine or contest the fine in the courts.

4. Police should show you their schedule of fines prior to writing you a ticket. If they cannot show you this then they cannot write you a ticket for any offense.

5. Cops are not allowed to be at a roadblock with their private cars. Any police car that stops you must have number plates.

6. Spikes are not allowed to be thrown at a moving vehicle and in any case, this is done anyone can sue for damages with the help of Legal resources foundation (is you can’t afford the legal fees). In any case, one is pressing charges against the police the state and the police officer in his/her individual capacity.

7. Police often give motorists fines for giving rides to strangers, but giving a ride to strangers is not prohibited by law, what is prohibited is charging for it.

There you have it, information is power and that information will come handy on the road. Be sure to join the conversations on twitter running under #DearZRP and also check Road Users Association website (www.rua.org.zw ) for updates.

What is Musombodhiya? | Kala Documentary

 

By Donald Mabido

Musombodhiya is a popular illicit alcoholic substance sold on the black market in Zimbabwe. Jah Prayzah and Military touch even sing about how intoxicating it is in their song Chekeche. It’s cheap and addictive. It’s made out of an alcohol concentrate and water. Kalabash media caught up with a community coming to grips with the consequences of having this substance readily available on the streets and talked to one man as he went to get his daily dose of Musombodhiya.