Dear Mr President,
Thank you so much for the gift you gave Kenyans three weeks ago – the very first one-stop Government service shop. The implications are huge for the ordinary Kenyan — no more shuttling back and forth from counter to counter, or building to building, in search of elusive but very necessary documents.
Indeed, we all breathed a collective “phew!” when you cut the ribbon and declared the Huduma Centre open. However, that was step one. We still have some way to go.
The test is whether or not the ‘Government services supermarket’ will actually deliver as it should. Please excuse me if I, along with many other Kenyans who have experienced bureaucracy and corruption at their best, indulge in a little cynicism. You see, inefficiency with regards to service delivery is all we have known for the longest time. And this is in the face of the countless promises we have swallowed over the years from the mouths of countless leaders, many of them mere politicians looking for a quick vote.
Call us an unusually forgiving lot, or very naïve, but I believe the time has finally come when you could say Kenyans are suffering from an acute case of promise-fatigue! We have simply been let down too many times, which is why our applause for the Huduma Centre has been a little slow in coming.
- 1 Revealed: FIFA ex-president Blatter was in coma after heart surgery
- 2 World Athletics chief Coe confident Olympics will go ahead
- 3 Uhuru unveils UN mechanism to stimulate manufacturing sector
- 4 Picture power: Gideon Moi crowned as Kalenjin elder
We much prefer to adopt a wait-and-see attitude so that if the promised services are not forthcoming (God forbid) then we can just get on with our laboured lives — the devil we know — and try not to blame you too much. The experts call this managing expectations.
Mr President, you should know that majority of Kenyans desperately want you to have a successful presidency – life will be good if that happens. Unfortunately, we have already witnessed you go back on your word. Where you initially promised to take care of some unpleasant business facing you head on, you are now busy trying to move heaven and earth to make the situation go away. Indeed, you have done everything except face it, which is what you promised.
In addition to that, too many things have happened that have resulted in a general “I told you so” attitude from those who are wary of expecting too much. Two areas immediately come to mind — runaway road accident fatalities and runaway insecurity. This despite various ‘tough measures’ that keep being implemented to contain the worrisome situations. To be completely fair, the Huduma Centre is a first among many recent firsts and that is why I believe Kenyans are rallying behind it (albeit quietly) to work. This is the first time Kenya is fully operating under the new Constitution (great!); also the first time that the top leadership is so youthful, and shares an easy-banter relationship (excellent!).
Why, we have never seen a President who finds it so easy to slip into a rugby jersey and give a Press conference, or feature comfortably in advertisements about the youth and talk ‘their language’. And it’s a first that ordinary citizens are being invited to air their opinions on the Presidential website.
The other side of the coin is that this is the first time the country’s presidency is facing trial in an international court, while in office. That is not so great. But barring this, the positive developments are rekindling a hope that burned in many hearts 50 years ago, when the country celebrated independence.
We have been through a lot and today, as our 50th birthday celebration plans hit overdrive, people are looking forward and desperately hoping that your efforts— such as the establishment of the Huduma Centre — are spearheading that forward momentum.
And so the real test will be whether the centre delivers well and consistently, or merely runs on hype for a couple of months before spluttering to a halt. As Kenyans root for you and your infant presidency, we sincerely hope it is the former.