In a true display of the power and immediacy of the mobile money in Africa, citizens in and outside of Zimbabwe have been using the technology to help bail out protestors arrested by the ZANU-PF government last week.
A total 54 citizens were arrested by authorities in the west Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo during last week’s #ShutDownZim stay away along with many others across the country.
The 54 were arrested and charged with violence during the stay away and the bail for each of them was set at $80. In total $4320 was needed to bail all of them out.
Donations for the bail were called for on social media and a Zimbabwean online fundraising campaign site called Tswanda and are currently being sent to Tineyi Mukwewa of Abammeli Human Rights Lawyer through his mobile number.
Zenzele Ndebele, a journalist based in Bulawayo who has been helping to organise the bail out on Twitter, told htxt.africa tha he saw the call for donations on Facebook and felt he needed to help.
Yesterday, one individual paid bail for 28 protestors directly at the court.
By early this morning $280 had been raised, shortly after, $600 dollars was received and as of around 20 minutes ago, only $320 left to reach the set target.
Below are some screenshots of some of the donations made through World Remit and Zimbabwe’s EcoCash mobile money service.
“Mobile money is very powerful because it’s instant. It does not involve people going to the bank,” Ndebele said.
Ndebele added that, with the protests continuing, lots of people will probably be arrested and a trust account will have to be set up but that it needs to be transparent and accountable.[UPDATE as at 3pm: Bail has been raised for all those who were arrested and they’re now all free]