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Sunday, October 31, 2010

From the Bulawayo moring mirror

Its time to become litigious !!

I have never been an admirer of litigious societies, but I think the time has come in Zimbabwe.

Not that we wish to make any money out of it, but we would very much like to make officialdom stand up and be accountable.

HeeHoo and I are not claimers or complainers, but the very fabric of society has become so distressed that maybe a few expensive financial and hurtful demands will make those in power sit up and take notice.

How many times have you had a puncture and destroyed a tyre rim because of an untended pothole ? Have you made a claim ? Probably not because "it won't make any difference anyhow".

How many times have you had a collision or almost had a collision at a non functioning traffic light ? If you have been unfortunate enough to actually have an accident, have you claimed against the authorities ?

Probably not because "it won't make any difference, too time consuming, too many hassles involved".

The municipality is responsible for the maintenance of the traffic lights. They have had nearly two years of billing us in expensive real money rates and taxes and have had ample time to repair these problems. Are they not one of the most important facets of our lives. What is more important that a life taken at traffic lights which sometimes work, but more often do not work.

The traffic lights at Greystoke Way and Cecil Avenue have not worked for years now, they were repaired yesterday finally and no one even took any notice. Every car I saw drove through whether green, orange or red with speed and bravado !!

The other day at Ascot the east/west facing robots were working but the north/south were not !! ! There was a massive pile up, a host of heavily damaged expensive motor vehicles, and looking at the wreckage, possibly many people had sustained injuries.

Did anyone take action against the roads authority ? Life is stressful in Zimbabwe, so stressful, that unless one has incredible energy, it is unlikely that anyone did anything except to make an insurance claim.

A few months ago in our suburb we had a massive hole that had been dug by the municipal workers, right in the middle of a busy tarred intersection. It was a water leak, a common occurrence, but this vast hole remained without repair, in the middle of the road, without any danger markings, for months.

The local residents used to put giant branches in it to warn unsuspecting motorists as the hole was impossible to see in the always unlit suburb, How many cars broke an axle or ruined a tyre in this hole I wonder ?

I also feel very litigious about ZESA, when I think of my deep freeze and the meat therein every time we have a 9 hour power cut every other day !! My daughter was in Brisbane when they had that hurricane and every family without power (for a paltry 12 hours) was given $250 Aussie dollars (and more) for anything that might have gone off in their freezers !! So far since our power was so irregular we have lost, a deep freeze, a TV and a fridge, they just cannot cope with the surges and power outages we have daily. Now can I claim from ZESA for these ???

Last night HeeHoo was on a plane to Harare, a plane that left twenty minutes before it was due to take off, a plane that left a dozen angry passengers totally stranded. Ongoing connections were missed, and important business meetings never took pace as a result of it all. Did anyone take it up with Air Zimbabwe ? Is anyone going to sue or make a claim ?

Oh no, most stranded passengers were angry enough to take it further at the time, but no one I am quite sure could be bothered, knowing that the inefficiency and ineptitude is so deep that nothing would result from a legal claim at any rate.

Now if we lived in a litigious society like the USA, the authorities would sit up and take notice. Faced with massive financial claims, would we have any robots that do not work ? Would we have giant unfenced trenches in the middle of the road ? Would we have an airline that does what it wants, when it wants regardless of the inconvenience to it's passengers?

Maybe the powers that be need to contract the workings of the traffic lights out to an independent party ? Why is it that when private enterprise gets involved, only then do systems start to function again ? Africa needs to rethink its logic and opt for privatization instead of the dreary cry for nationalization.

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