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A queing nation

09 March 2012, 17:24 Kennedy Aseka

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Among the achievements we’re proud of in the 21st century is the massive advancement in technology. From analog to digital, the world has undergone tremendous transformations, which would make Mzee Jomo Kenyatta collapse if he rose today.

Think about communication!

I’ve always wondered how challenging it was to send a message during the time when there was no Posta Kenya. Even after the coming of the postal services, it was still a challenge to communicate. And please not that in this context, I am only referring to posting of letters locally, since nobody imagined that communication abroad would be possible.

With improvements in postal services, postage of letters would take at least seven working days. I have no idea what used to happen between Monday and Monday before a letter. was delivered.

Although I did not use and enjoy postal services for long, I must say that I have some memories.

Towards the end 1990s, the cost of Posta Kenya stamps was KES. 7 but many people preferred to reuse these stamps by using Colgate toothpaste as an eraser. This was however on the basis that the stamp would not be recognized as fake.

On the other hand, all these memories form part of our history and remind us of the strides we’ve made in technology. From the use of mobile connection to office automation and Internet, there is every need to acknowledge the minds behind such great ideas.

The writing of this article has been triggered by the rigidity of some Kenyan institutions and sectors of the economy to embrace change. 

Need for change

A visit to Times Tower, Kenya’s home of taxes left me wondering if operations within the building were being done using Stone, Bronze or Iron Age technology.

At 1400hrs Kenyan time, endless queues at Times Tower leave you with incalculable questions. The folding queues of desperate and helpless Kenyans at ground floor reminded me of the arrangement of human intestines in biology, characterized by numerous coils.  A

After spending hopeless moments at the Tower, I left without being served. My departure was justified by a simple calculation, which revealed to me that at that rate of service delivery, it would have taken me close to three hours standing at Times Tower, waiting to deliver some receipts at the counter. What a shame to a country that is dreaming of vision 2030!

The incident at Times Tower sent me into a coma of critical thinking.

I am sure that KRA, based at Times Tower must be having highly experienced technologists and computer gurus. If this is true, then either a good number of its employees are computer literate or they deliberately don’t appreciate technology. Why should customers, flood the entire ground floor including stairs, yet the people at the counter pretend to be using computers?

I really wonder the feelings that go through the minds of commissioners as they maneuver their way through the queues, access private doors, get into private lifts and swing to their private offices, where everything is indeed private.

Has it ever come to their senses that something needs to be done at KRA’s head office, based at Times Tower? If the answer is NO, then KRA management needs to realize that this is a computer generation, even though most of the people in charge were either born B.C, Before Computer or A.D, After Desktops.

Go online and eliminate queues

Another disappointing fact is that most of the services sourced at Times Tower are petty and can be done online. Consider a case where a Kenyan is applying for KRA PIN in a cyber café and he or she is asked to verify the email with KRA. Why would such a person spend the entire day queuing when the same information can be verified online? In fact, it would be quite unfair not to mention that a good number of National offices in the country perfect the art of queuing.

With its reputation, the services at Times Tower (KRA) have to be addressed urgently. When did you first hear of Times Tower? Products of the 8-4-4 system will agree with me that most people heard of this building in G.H.C, being acknowledged as the tallest in the country. It is therefore embarrassing that after all these years, KRA services at Times Tower are in such an old age state.

As I plan to visit KRA for the second time, my only hope is that something is being done.

Either KRA staff to enroll for IT refresher courses in town or hire qualified Kenyans to offer quality services. Spending hours at Time Tower’s ground floor in the name of queuing is a waste of a nonrenewable resource, TIME, which translates into other forms of losses.  Whether you were born B.C or A.D., the truth is that technology is here with us.

Disclaimer: News24Kenya encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24Kenya.

- News24Kenya

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Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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