Category Archives: Corruption

QUESTIONS WE NEED ANSWERS TO: HUDUMA NUMBER

I hate being forced to do things. That’s exactly what I felt was happening when our government started pushing us to register for the mysterious ‘Huduma Number’.

We’d never heard about this number before the beginning of year, and all of a sudden, the government has put registration of all Kenyans as its top priority.

Not the hunger that was ravaging many parts of this country because this same Government didn’t use the data it already has proactively.

Not the spiraling public debt that could throw our economy into turbulence.

Not the surge in mental illness that is turning our men and women into killers.

Nope. Its top priority is getting us registered for God knows what reason.

The government is threatening to deny its services to citizens that do not have the number (which, btw is actually illegal).

This ‘super-helpful’ process is costing us Ksh 6 billion just ahead of an 18 billion shilling census.

Can you imagine that! More than 24 billion spent on collecting citizens’ personal data in a year that the government is supposed to be implementing austerity measures.

This Government is a punishment for our collective stupidity, greed, and naivety as a populace.

Back to Huduma Namba

I and millions of other Kenyans including children had to waste an entire day at least once in the last 45 days, queing in order to register for this supposed elixir for proper service delivery.

We are not even sure as to how this number is supposed to help us.

I have never heard anyone complain that we have too many identification numbers. Each one has a specific purpose, and keeping them separate is ideal when you live in a country run by a government gone rogue.

That aside, I don’t think our government has the capability of delivering to all of us these squeaky clean numbers that are meant to be the gateway to all of its services.

Epic fail best describes this government, and perhaps deployment of the Huduma Namba will be nothing but a pipe dream, and the citizens can rest a bit easy knowing that an incompetent government doesn’t have in its possession all of their data in one centralised location.

Some of the questions I have regarding this number include:

Is it going to improve service delivery?

How is one number the magic trick for fixing everything that is wrong with our government?

How is this unique identifier different to the other unique identifier numbers we possess?

Wouldn’t it be cheaper to declare our national IDs the only identifier?

Do we really need a census after this harrowing experience? Doesn’t this entity already have all the information it needs?

Will corruption holes in government be sealed as a result of this number?

Where did this idea come from?

Did it come from the Chinese?

Which case studies did they use as proof that this will work?

Is our data secure?

Although most of the data we are providing is already in government records, won’t centralising this data make it easy to steal.

If someone stole this information, what exactly would they do with it?

Will this data be used to monitor us as citizens?

We already live in a failed state; we don’t want to live in a police one too where all of your movements are monitored and trackable.

How is a democratic state supposed to run when the Government can monitor, and quell any opposing individuals?

We will be in a lot of shit when our government finally figures out how to control what we do online and offline.

Who stands to benefit from the tenders associated with registration and maintenance of Huduma Namba database?

Some of the companies awarded the tenders were the same crooks that sold us the registration kits for last elections. They did less than a stellar job, so what makes the Government think they’ll do a better job this time?

Will the maintenance of this database be done at the national or county level?

What happens to kids born after the deadline? How will they get registered?

Who should be held accountable in the event that a data breach occurs, and personal data ends up stolen?

Who should be held accountable if the constitutional rights of citizens to privacy, movement, freedom of speech, and freedom of association, are curtailed as a result of this massive collection and storage of citizen data?

Everything is a bit up in the air at the moment, but, soon we’ll know the truth about this number, and who it is truly supposed to benefit.

Let’s just hope the government effs this up like it does everything else so that we don’t pay the harsh consequences of mass registration.

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POLITICS, THE CHURCH, AND POSSIBLE CONFLICT OF INTEREST

So, I’m a deacon now…………………………………….

in church!

Gasp!!!!

I and other deacons were ordained last Sunday in front of the entire church (Wahu and Kamande included).

We had to kneel and say vows, and stuff (it was funny… I haven’t knelt in so long, it felt weird).

There was also no lunch or special snacks afterwards, so that kind of sucked. And, I still had to teach Sunday School (a role that I take great pride in, but I thought they would give us a break, seeing as it was such a ‘special’ day).

But, I’m not too bothered by this.

Deaconhood suits me; I wear it well, if I do say so myself. Although, technically, it’s been less than a week, and I actually haven’t done anything deacony yet.

But, I am supposed to do something deacony this Sunday, and it’s making me a bit uncomfortable.

Okay, here goes…

Our church is hosting a super Harambee (fundraiser) this coming Sunday to raise funds for a bigger sanctuary (we congregate in a nursery school; I for one think it’s cute, but you know churches and their expansionist policies)

A very important guest will be in attendance, and I am very conflicted about his possible presence on Sunday.

You guessed it!

It’s our very own deputy president of the Republic. If you’re Kenyan, I’m sure you didn’t have to try that hard to figure it out. His name has become synonymous with church fundraisers lately, so, it’s pretty obvious I was referring to him.

Now, I am not trying to be sanctimonious or nothing, because even I have a past, and the church accepts my offering every single Sunday. So why should she react differently when it comes to the deputy president’s contribution?

Well, for starters, there’s the nagging possibility that the money he’s dishing out to all of these churches is part of his ill-gotten loot (he’s perceived to be one of the most corrupt individuals in the country;- where there’s smoke, there’s always fire, people).

I have heard some of the older congregants brush this off claiming that ‘everyone steals’. I don’t think that’s true, and even if it were, shouldn’t the Church be standing up against this vice.

How?

Not accepting stolen public loot from corrupt politicians seems like a very great place to start, don’t you think?

I mean, how can the Kenyan religious fraternity claim to be admonishing corruption and at the same time be in the front lines when it comes to receiving ‘alleged’ proceeds of corruption?

I have raised this question in regards to the deputy president’s impending visit to our tiny church, and this is the response I keep receiving:

At least he is returning some of the money back to the public. He’s better than those who don’t return anything‘.

Wow!

This is just sad.

We have grown so accustomed to being stolen from as a people that we applaud those who steal from our public coffers and ‘return’ a negligible proportion of it as charity.

And, it’s not like this charity comes without strings attached.

Of course, he’s doing this for political goodwill. He knows with the Church’s support, it’s much easier to win his desired political post. Otherwise, he would have contributed silently without all of this hullabaloo.

And, how can we criticize someone when we have already accepted money from him?

I feel like his (and other politicians’) donations have the potential to gag churches disabling them from ever criticizing bad governance.

Knowing all this, how can I possibly in good conscience, appear on Sunday and perform my deacon duties?

I am so troubled…so, so, so troubled!!

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But, I hear there will be good food. I love food. Food always makes me happy, which can come in handy as I try to grapple with the realisation that we accepted *allegedly* stolen money to build a bigger sanctuary.

And I am also going to need a lot of good food because later on that evening, Arsenal will be up against Tottenham. It’s a scary game!!!

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For those who follow me on Facebook, my new position might come as a surprise to you given the numerous anti-religious posts that I share on the platform.

Don’t be alarmed! I’m not leading a double life. I have very strong criticisms about Christianity as a religion, and I am very vocal about this at home and even in church.

But, I have learnt to separate the religion/theistic dogmas from the faith. I have learnt to focus on the faith aspects of the predominant religion that I have been exposed to, and mix these with my own inherent and acquired values.

In short, I have come up with my own faith, because I feel that’s a right for every human being- to choose or create your own beliefs (sounds ridiculous I know but it works, for me at least).

And what better way to change what I think is wrong with the church than infiltrating (I use this word very lightly) the institution and working on it from the inside. I feel that this is a more effective way of fixing the problem rather than just throwing stones at the institution.

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Anyway, let’s see how Sunday goes…bye for now!!