I lost my phone and a few other items over the weekend, and my Driving Licence got misplaced a while ago. Yesterday I decided to report them to the police, which involves getting a police abstract with which I can use to apply for a replacement DL and to locate and recover the phone.

So I went to Central Police Station, which I came to realize is not a very organized joint. (is any Government office in Kenya ever organized?) You really have to walk up and down to get things done. If you enquire at the main desk as to where you can get an abstract, they tell you to “zunguka kipande hiyo nyuma ya kiosk” where you find a photocopier, pay 3 bob and you get your abstract. After that you’ll be told to fika number 10. I asked the mathe where number 10 is, she pointed (with her mouth) “hapo juu!” where hapo juu is where now?

After asking again at the main desk, I was directed to room 10 (upstairs – si the mathe could have simply said go to the main desk, up the stairs to room 10?) where the abstract was filled in, then I was directed to room 12, where I was to get help with the phone. The cops filled in the phone make and IMEI number on the abstract, then they told me to take it to Safaricom and ask them to supply the details of whichever phone number is currently being used on the stolen handset along with the approximate location of the user and three of the user’s frequently dialled numbers, then bring back that information to the cops and they’d pursue the matter from there.

Armed with this abstract, I first went to Times Tower to apply for a replacement DL. I enquired from the guard at the entrance which counter to go to (which was a good thing since there was no one at the information desk) and he directed me to counter 36. Kuingia ndani, there was no counter 36!! There’s only up to counter 32, which luckily was indicated “Duplicate DL”, but it had a very long queue. After queuing for what seemed like a lifetime, I finally got to the counter (armed with the necessary documents: photocopy of ID, 2 passport photos, abstract and photocopy of the DL) only to be asked “iko wapi receipt ya abstract?”

Receipt? What receipt? Sikupewa receipt!!

“Rudi police Station ukaulizie receipt, alafu urudi, ukitoka uchukue application form hapo kwa enquiries, uijaze, urudi kesho alafu ulipe Ksh 875 kwa counter XX, ufike counter XX ukaulizie serial number ya DL, alafu urudi hapa”

Do you have any idea how long it takes to get to the front of any ONE of those queues?

Seeing that I wasn’t going to get anything done in a hurry at Times Tower, I went to the Safaricom customer care centre on I&M Bank House. The process there is chap chap since I was only on the queue for about 3 minutes. When I got to speak to the customer care representative, she told me that that the only way she can be of assistance was to have the phone blocked from their network (and all other networks in East Africa) but after that they would not be able to track the phone since it wouldn’t be in use.

So how are you being of assistance to me if you block the phone and not recover it? I need help in RECOVERING it, not blocking it!! Alaa? Imagine that you’ve been carjacked, then the cops liaise with the dealers and they tell you “We’ve disabled the central computer, meaning that wherever the car is, it cannot be used by anyone” The idea is to GET BACK the car, not just to prevent anyone else from using it!!! Does this only make sense to me or does anyone feel me on this?

I asked her to give me a print-out of the information that the police had asked me to get from them, but they said that they cannot give such classified information to customers, and that would require a letter from the CID.

WTF?? CID tena?

So she said that I should go back to Central, get a letter and take it to CID (which is on Kiambu road mind you. Are you mad??) and from there the CID will hopefully find time in their busy schedules to liaise with Safaricom to track the phone using GPRS and apprehend the thief and recover the phone.

Surely, must it be this difficult to get such simple things done? Why isn’t any of this information readily available e.g. on the internet? I checked the KRA website but they don’t have any information whatsoever on what procedures are meant to be followed in getting a replacement DL. I also checked on the Safaricom website, it has information on what papers you’re required to go with so as to get your stolen phone blocked from the network, but no information as to what needs to be done if one wants their help in recovering a stolen phone.

What’s so hard about doing that? Having such information readily available would simplify a very long process in addition to saving valuable time.

For example, the KRA website could have information as to how to apply for a replacement DL as follows:

1. Report loss of Driving Licence to nearest police station and obtain police abstract form. Do not forget to ask for a receipt.

2. Get 2 photocopies of your National ID card, 2 photocopies of your Driving License and 2 recent passport size photos

3. Armed with the above documents, come to KRA headquarters at ground floor, Times Tower, and fill in an application form which is available at the Enquiries Desk

4. Pay the necessary fees indicated on the application form at the relevant counter, and attach the receipt to the above documents.

5. Present your mass and the relevant documents to counter 32.

6. Exit the premises and pray that we will remember to process your application.

I’m almost tempted to say “This is Kenya, so what do you expect” but I’m always hopeful that someday things will be far more organized than they are today, which is not entirely impossible.

I look forward to a very, very, very long Friday.

Random thought:

So PNU is complaining that it receives less media coverage than the other political parties. Interesting, coz recent research shows otherwise. And after the government’s numerous attempts to stifle press freedom through the infamous raid on the Standard two years ago, to the recent infamous media bill that had members of the fourth estate (speaking of which, what are the first three?) protesting in the streets, in addition to running a completely uninspiring campaign programme….er….like WHAT EXACTLY DID YOU EXPECT??

I’m not saying that it’s fair (if at all it’s happening) but if it is, whose fault is that?

Then, who in heaven’s name thought up the PNU campaign slogan? If combined with Kibaki’s other er….Kibaki-isms, the result would only be comical.

PANUA pare pare!!! Ndio kazi iendelee!

Photo of the day

fukitol.jpg

What’s on my playlist?

Young Bloodz – Damn

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