Bureaucratic Day

Scene One:
Went to the Post office yesterday, bought two envelopes and also stamps to send them at 21 shillings each. Got home and saw on the evening news that stamps had been raised to 25/= per letter w/immediate effect.
* I’m partly to blame as the notice appeared in the newspapers yesterday – but I didn’t read them till evening. But surely the post office clerk who sold stamps should have known! Fortunately, just now, am told that the new tariffs become effective March 14th, not immediately

Scene Two:
Trying to open a savings account with a certain Bank, I was told that I required a PIN card (Kenya’s attempt to replicate a social security number)

Since I know my PIN number, but no card, I went to Times Tower (Kenya Revenue Authority headquarters) to get a PIN card printed.

• Arrive for obligatory body search (00:30)
• Enter building 2 of Times Tower, wisely ask for directions at information desk, told to go to other building (1:00)
• At the other building, stop at information desk, told to go to desk 18 with my national ID only (3:00)
• Desk 18 has two men chattering excitedly in vernacular as they point excitedly at a computer screen (5:00)
• After a minute, I’m told to see lady at desk 17 who’s making entries in her computer. Join her line (6:00)
• line ends & it’s my turn: she looks at me and tell me ID’s are presented at desk 15 (7:00)
• At desk 15, gentleman takes my ID, enters it in computer. Finds and scribbles my PIN (10:00)
• He takes it over to lady at desk 17 and disappears back into the staff office area (11:00)
• Another lady takes over at desk 15. She says she can’t answer about things she didn’t handle (15:00)
• Line up back at 17. She tells crowd at her desk to line up straight, and not crowd her desk (17:00)
• Guard walks up and merges the two lines that have formed into one (19:00)
• My turn, she enters my data and the printer clutters. She asks me to wait (22:00)
• She removes two printouts and read names, not mine (25:00)
• The line is finished, am all alone. So she manually feeds the printer to get my card. (27:00)
• I get a copy of my PIN card (28:00)

Otherwise, the office was ok and KRA staff were helpful but seemed tired.
My main complaint was that I had to go through desks 15, 17, and 18 when one person could have taken my ID, checked it in the system and against my picture, and printed me a card (This would have taken maybe 2 minutes at most, not 28 minutes)

3 thoughts on “Bureaucratic Day

  1. akiey

    About the quick stamp price hike…I really do symapthise with you & hey, not your fault:)
    I’ve always wondered why our Kenyan society puts up with that? In most countries in the West such increments are usually announced months in advance…even if it’s an extra penny on the cost of a postage stamp.
    It wouldn’t hurt us as Kenyans to let the consumer know in advance so they can plan ahead of time. We need to wake up & let go of our man-eat-man mentality. It’s ruining our society & is against African principles.

  2. imn

    one of the biggest problems facing developing countries is this ridiculous bureaucracy. It takes just hours to start a business in the West. In Kenya, many months and several bribes later you still have nothing

  3. Jay

    I guess that’s KRA’s way of contributing to NARC’s promise of 500,000 jobs. 499,998 to go and counting…………

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