Following our review of the reprehensible Subscriber Registration law (Statutory Instrument 142 of 2013) we clairvoyantly predicted that one of the unfortunate effects of this law would be that Network operators would now require you to furnish them with a police report before they issue you with a replacement SIM card. Sadly this has turned out to be true.
Almost a month ago someone decided to steal my Nokia 1208 phone or maybe I dropped it- I don’t know. I decided to buy a new phablet online and see what the fuss was all about. I had to wait for a month for it to arrive and had to make do with VoIP in the meantime. ( Seriously some of these VoIP services are overrated especially if you try to make international calls.) The trouble started when I visited Econet to get a SIM replacement and I was told I needed a police report.
I figured I would just visit my nearest police station, make a report and somehow cajole them to issue me with a stamped piece of paper saying I had lost my phone blah blah all in a day’s work and be done with it. In retrospect that sounds all so naive.
On my arrival at the Police station I couldn’t help but notice how modern the reception and adjacent offices looked. All the desks had relatively new computers on top of them and some of them were actually running Windows 7! A state of the art laser printer was humming as it dutifully spewed out colour print outs of Facebook jokes which one of the lady officers was carefully sticking onto the notice board. After being told that they were busy I quietly waited as they chatted on about their poultry and agriculture endeavours and what nots.
After being ignored for what seemed like ages I was asked to state my business and I quickly recounted my predicament. It turned out none of the present officers could help me because a police report would require the Officer in charge to stamp it. Officer X-the officer in charge was not present at the station and only Officer X was allowed to use this stamp! I was told to come back the next at 8 am morning. On the following day Officer X was not available either he had gone to attend to some urgent police business. So busy was Officer X that I could not find him at that police station for the next three days. Then ,on the advice of a friend, on the fourth day after being told Officer X was unavailable I decided to offer a donation to the present officers in return for an “expedited police report.”
I had hardly finished making this offer when the report was speedily made and handed to me stamped and all. Imagine my surprise upon learning “joke-sticking-lady” was actually Officer X. Fuming with rage and police report in hand I visited Econet. As I waited for my turn to be served and started trading stories with the other people in the line I learnt something else however, behind every police report was a story almost as bad as mine and sometimes worse.
Only in Zimbabwe are stories like these just shrugged off.I wonder how we got there? “If you are not happy with their service then you report them to the police.” One of the people quipped suggesting I should report Officer X to Officer X for misconduct. I imagine another meeting with Officer X and suddenly I am good and thankful for the service I received. After all it could be worse right? ( Cue you are supposed to shrug and agree with me.)
Picture via Flickr