Living the Little Dream[38] – Posta (2)

Being the persistent person I am, I continued my parcel hunting journey with Kenya Posta. I angrily stormed into the office of the post office manager arguing about the “late collection” fee.

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“Is this the way Kenyan post office treating a birthday girl with a present from her home? There is no way that I am paying any charges for storage.” I unhappily asked.
“But you must pay, how much will you pay?” the manager insisted.

I pulled out the only 500 Ksh (i.e. $5 USD) note that I had remaining in my pocket.

“I only have 500 Ksh on me, this is all I can afford” I said.
“Fine, I understand your frustration. You can pay 500 Ksh then.” she says as she signed her name on the payment slip to change the storage payment amount.

On second thought, I needed 50 Ksh to take the bus home.

“Can you make it 450 Ksh so that I have money to go home on a matatu?” I negotiated.

The post office manager finally reduced the original bill of 3500 Ksh to 400 Ksh.
After having spent more than 2 hours frustrated at the post office, with 100 Ksh in my pocket, I finally got my 2 bottle of Taylor’s wines home from the Kenyan post office.

Having heard my Posta adventure, many of my friends believed that all the tax and administrative fees were bribery. Yet, I am sure such was not the case. Not only did I receive a receipt at every stage of the process, the money was also collected by various departments whereby it was difficult for the money to go into any one particular person’s pocket. On the contrary, this experience reveals another sad reality of Kenya – bureaucracy.

The Postal Corporation of Kenya was established by an Act of Parliament in 1998 and operates as a commercial public enterprise. With more than 600 outlets across the country, the Corporation’s mandate includes provision of accessible, affordable and reliable postal services to all parts of Kenya. However, bureaucracy– the administrative system governing any large institution – within Posta appears to be excessively complicated and unnecessary. A postal administrative system which requires receivers to spend more than 2 hours at collection is undoubtedly inefficient and convoluted. Whilst Kenyan Posta are currently attempting to advance into providing all their services they offer into a mobile application, perhaps they first need to review their system of bureaucratic governance.

“Bureaucracy is the death to all sound work” is a famous quote of Albert Einstein. Whilst issues of bureaucratic governance are not constitutive of development, they are however crucial determinants of the degree to which an institution make progress – or fails to do so.