Villagers call for mobile phone connectivity

By Staff reporter | 13 Nov 2019 at 20:21hrs
VILLAGERS in most parts of Rusape are pleading with Government to ensure they get mobile phone connectivity, and protection from cyber bullies.

In separate interviews at Chiwetu Rest Camp in Rusape over the weekend on the sidelines of a Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) roadshow, Mr Trust Chirandu from Dewedzo area said: "We have serious network challenges here.

"It is worrying that some very remote areas have network while we don't, even though we are not too far away from Harare where the mobile phone companies are headquartered."

An elderly woman, who was invited to the podium by Potraz officials to talk about mobile phones, said she was concerned about the magnitude of cyber bullying and abuse that takes place on social media. She said her daughter once received "unsolicited pornographic material from a person she doesn't know".

"I want Government to act on the abuse that takes place on social media," she said.

Potraz economist Mr Talent Munyaradzi told The Herald at Chiwetu Rest Camp that cyber bullying and network challenges were some of the issues raised by villagers in many areas of Rusape.

He said they engaged telecoms consumers in Rusape from November 6 to 9, and covered areas that included Tsanzaguru, St Theresa, Masvosva, Matsika, Dowa, Dewedzo, Mutendebvure and Chiwetu Rest Camp. "From the engagements and our own experiences, we have realised that network is quite a big challenge in Rusape. There are a lot of areas where there is no connectivity at all," said Mr Munyaradzi.

"For example an area called Dowa, in that area you would need to have a special area where you just go to make calls or receive calls from that area otherwise there is no connectivity.

"It's the same experience we had in Mukwini, Dewedzo and Mutendebvure. Basically, in many of the areas in Rusape, there is network connectivity problems. We also had issues to do with usage of internet and cyber issues where there were concerns that there is need for a lot of education especially educating the youths how they can use internet for the good and not for the bad."

Mr Munyaradzi said issues pertaining to internet abuse were raised by teachers and some elderly people, who feel that "the internet should not be promoted because of the bad side". "But they feel if there is consumer education, everyone will appreciate the importance of internet".

Going forward, Potraz plans to continue engaging telecoms users so that they are aware of their rights. Mr Munyaradzi said they have planned to stage about 10 roadshows every quarter within a province or cutting across provinces.

This year, they have surpassed 40 roadshows and the programme will continue until they "feel consumer and users have an understanding of what ICTs are all about".



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