If you have ever had to run errands in a Kenyan government office, you will have to agree with me when I say that it can be an extreme sport.
Nowadays, nearly all govt services are done at any Huduma center. Which is kinda fine in that it’s a one stop shop for nearly every govt service you need, but that also comes towed with a tone of problems. And not just the Huduma centers but pretty much every other govt office. Some of the protocols are so backward and you can be left feeling very frustrated. Here are govt office struggle we can all relate to.
1. Can we talk about the long queues?
As in! You can go there at 8.00 am and leave around midday, simply because there are too many people and more often than not, less people to serve you so, yeah, queues.
2. Electricity problems.
One of the reasons why those queues are notorious is because electricity keeps disappearing and the ticket number machine stops working, plus computers jam due to internet and yeah, y’all have to wait. That happened to me during passport application. The lights went and everything was at stand still for about 45 minutes and there was nothing we could do, we all just stood there, squeezed in the queue, hoping for the best. Smh.
3. Payment procedure.
For some reason, payment procedures in govt offices are not as seamless as you’d want to imagine. You’ll be taking forms in one office, assuming that you’re paying there, only to be sent to Huduma or e-citizen to go make a payment then come back.
4. Rude receptionists.
Show me one friendly receptionist in a govt office and I will show you a long-sleeved bra. In other words, they do not exist. They’re always older, and feel so damn entitled. I bet they have been doing that job for so long, for the better part of their lives – they’re tired and washed out, but won’t retire and so they pour out all their frustrations on us. Like yoooo, chill man, doesn’t hurt to be nice or slightly friendly. That’s what receptionists do. It’s your job.
5. Phone numbers rarely work.
Rarely will a number you find on Google go through and if it does, chances are, they will not pick up and if they do, they’ll be so damn rude (see 4) and you will not even get the help you wanted.
6. Backward protocols.
While everyone is going digital, Kenyan govt offices are stuck in the old way of doing things. What’s with all the paper work? Surely, they can have a database system where you simply register and if you need a service, they key in your mobile number or ID number and you get assisted, instead of having to print a million forms every time you go there. All those files full of papers in govt offices, what are they for? We are in a digital era now, shape up or ship out!
7. Waiting time.
You will pay 200 shillings for something only to be told to come back after a week or two to collect it. What do you need 14 days for? Are they like understaffed or something? 7 working days to collect a form?
Heh! You’d think you’re entering the actual gates of heaven in some offices “Where are you going? Let me see the forms, do you have an appointment? Wapi ID?”.
9. We are all citizens of this country and we deserve to be treated like humans not animals.
Govt employees need to do better. You’re paid to serve us! No need to leave us feeling so frustrated literally every single time.