The day Kangema post office operated from a bakery

G.P.O sorting room, Nairobi, 1962. [File, Standard]

When most state corporations were monopolies, Kenyans in various parts of the country had to beg these entities to serve them.

Telephone poles marked the path to a man of substance in rural areas.

In areas where there were no prominent people, urgent news had to be communicated through word of mouth. This explains why, in 1970, R.M Wanjagi, MP for Kangema, lobbied the government to connect his constituency to the rest of the world.

He begged the government to set up full postal services at the Kangema Divisional Headquarters.

Wanjagi was convinced that his birthplace deserved better treatment from the government because it had begun to attract investors and banks were opening branches.

As a result, he was overjoyed when the government responded that the Ministry of Power and Telecommunications planned to establish savings banks and money order facilities in Kangema.

The MP was shocked, however, when Assistant Minister for Power and Telecommunications D.C.N Moss informed him that Kangema could not be upgraded to receive postal services because the branch was losing money.

Moss explained to Wanjagi that despite the fact that the office had been open since 1954, the sub-post office had never generated more than Sh215 per month. This was far below the minimum wage for a facility of its calibre. At the time, the minimum monthly income for a sub-post office to be upgraded was Sh1,500.

Wanjagi was having none of it. He was furious that Kangema was losing money because its sub-post office was inside a bakery.

"There are no facilities for customers, so you can't have customers if there aren't any, which is why the earnings are so low. What will the government do to obtain its own separate house that is not a bakery?"

Moss was moved by the bakery explanation and told Wanjagi: "If the figure remains constant as it is now, I believe the post office has every chance of being upgraded."

Kenya Post and Telecommunications Corporation was decommissioned in 1999 and divided into Telkom, Posta and the Communications Authority.

The advent of mobile phones and the internet has rendered mail and fixed telephone services obsolete.

Despite these technological advancements, some remote areas of the country still lack access to telephone services.