By Wahome Thuku
For nine years, James Akenga Mahero worked as a groundsman at Butere Girls High School in Western Kenya. However, on May 3, 2006, something tragic happened that changed his life.
As he was using a motorised lawnmower allocated to him for cutting grass, its blade broke and snapped, injuring him seriously on the right leg.
Akenga could not work again. Soon after the accident, he filed a suit accusing Butere Girls High School management of negligence.
He named the school Board of Governors (BOG) as respondents.
The groundsman accused the school of breaching its legal responsibility and contract by failing to ensure his safety. He blamed the management for having exposed him to danger, which they knew or ought to have known could occur.
They had failed to maintain the lawnmower and to keep it in good state of repair.
They had not provided him with proper protective gear and had not warned him of the existing risks at his workplace, the court heard.
The BOG filed a statement of defence on May 6, 2006, denying any liability. The school claimed Akenga was solely the author of his misfortune and had contributed substantially to his injury.
They accused him of failing to manage and to use the lawnmower according to instructions. He had exposed himself to danger by mishandling the machine and causing the blade to break by running it over stones and other obstacles.