Reinventing the Wheel

This is madness.

One of the charms of the Outpost was the complete lack of daladalas or matatus – the taxis prevalent in most of Africa. Taxis which are driven with reckless abandon and absolutely no consideration for punter, pedestrian or fellow road user.

The Outpost made up for the lack of more usual form of African public transport very effectively: the people of the town were able to get around on the backs of bikes, as fee-paying passengers.

This is a hot place. Doubtless the back of a bicycle was infinitely more comfortable than the stuffy interior of a daladala. And – Asina told me – the best bit about the bike arrangement (apart from the fact the general public could get about for less) was that as a passenger you could demand to be collected and dropped off at a precise point. No lugging your basket home from market. No worrying as you walked home in the dark.

But they’ve been banned. The bikes.  Because there were too many accidents.

Were there? I asked a local doctor.

Not as far as I know, she said, and I’d have heard about them.

Only a cynic, like me, then would suggest a local big wig has bought himself a mini bus and coined a useful little law that will generate some extra income for himself.

See what I mean? How on earth is the life of Africans ever going to improve when those who are meant to make a difference – who have the power to make a difference – couldn’t care less about what’s best, most appropriate, for their own.


3 Responses to “Reinventing the Wheel”

  1. R. Sherman Says:

    Someone smarter than I wrote that until there is a firm belief among the populace that the law exists to protect and serve everyone and not just the privileged, there can be no economic progress. Such progress relies upon the belief that a contract will be enforced; that all are on a level playing field.

    Your example speaks volumes.


  2. Iota Says:

    I do see what you mean. How on earth…? Indeed. Do you have any answers, or glimmers of answers, to your own question.

  3. Tom Says:

    This kind of stuff brings out the psycho in me. I would spend every spare moment sabotaging the mini van until the corrupt bastard gave up because it was costing him too much.

    Good thing I’m not there.

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