• November 6 Kenya Gazette had such ridiculous fees, 'computer error' was blamed
The recently gazetted changes of pricing in government services is the straw that is about to break the camel’s back. At some point you start wondering if the government thinks of its citizens as the people who they are meant to protect and work for, or as a personal bank where they can just withdraw every last cent in our grasp.
In all honesty, when I first saw screenshots of that particular Kenya Gazette, I thought it was some kind of sick prank. Surely, we know that the current government is bad, but it can’t stoop that low, can it?
Well it turns out they can, because what the government printed in the Kenya Gazette on November 6 was beyond contemptible. Increasing government service fees is one thing, but increasing them by over 100 per cent is simply atrocious. Some fees were quoted at such incredulous amounts that the concerned persons shamefacedly blamed it on ‘computer error’. In 2023, the chances of computers making such erroneous mistakes is below one per cent. We all see it as what it was intended.
I recently fixed an error on my national identity card, and while I was collecting the ID, the officer noticed how the photo was much darker than it should be. She politely urged me to have it changed as soon as possible by stating, “Just change it now, it only costs a hundred shillings.” I knew it cost a hundred shillings, I had been in that office several times in the past year. Since it was a cheap and swift process, I decided to redo my ID card on the spot.
This is what it means to be Kenyan, to be provided by government services without having to consider how much it is taking away from your children’s mouths. We cannot be citizens of a country that requires us to have identification documents on us all the time when the cost of processing that document costs more than most families make in a week! We often forget that we live in a country where half the population lives below the poverty line.
Still, this does not mean that everything is affordable to the middle class. With some service fees increasing by 20 times, the original prices, I wonder how many Kenyans would be willing to die fighting off robbers rather than lose their passports or identity documents. The cost of living is already tough on all Kenyans, who will pay the atrocious fees that the government is dictating?
Meanwhile, those of us temporarily living abroad have to come to terms with the fact that our children will not be Kenyans. After all, our government has refused to acknowledge them until we part with a million shillings! A Million Shillings!
Yeah, no wonder they called it a computer error, being the joke it is. A million shillings to have a Kenyan baby outside the borders of Kenya. I wonder who in the committee came up with that amount.
Can we also take a moment to appreciate the important people who sat in a room for a week, enjoying paid catering and per diems to come up with this garbage as though it does not affect them or their offspring? I wonder what qualifications one needed for that job or how out of touch one is to come up with such figures.
At some point, the nonsense perpetrated by this government will break our backs as Kenyans. I have written so many times about the dangers of pushing citizens to the brink of where they have nothing else left to lose. As the wise men have always said, “Fear a man who has nothing left to lose.”