08-04-2022 by Freddie del Curatolo
From queues for petrol to those for phone cards.
It's a Kenya standing in line for hours, made up of ordinary people who also have to reconcile these needs that affect the little time available, because the main part is taken up by the continuous, often harried race for survival.
Foodstuffs, public transport are on the rise because of fuel and the prices of whatever is in the hands of unscrupulous sellers who take advantage of the moment and the various alibis that rain down from all sides, magnified by the electoral campaign.
While Treasury Minister Ukur Yatani presents the budget 2022/23 in parliament, citizens still do not know when the rationing of gasoline will end and invade the pumps in every corner of the country, despite the pleas of the Deputy Minister of Petroleum Resources Andrew Kamau who asks not to fill the houses with fuel but limit to one full tank to give everyone access to the stocks that are slowly coming.
Actually, according to Kamau's previous statements, the situation with the oil companies landing in Mombasa should have been resolved yesterday, after President Kenyatta's signature for 34 billion shillings, 20 of which would have covered the debt incurred since last October and the others would have gone to guarantee the next supplies.
The companies, however, let local media know that in reality the government aims at an installment plan. The only positive side of the story and closely linked to the electoral campaign, is that all this happens in order not to increase the price of fuel at the pumps, something that for example Uganda of President Museveni did not do, buying gasoline even in times of crisis and bringing the price to the equivalent of 162 Kenyan shillings per liter, against 136 in Kenya.
Hoping for a resolution soon, there is a deadline for millions of Kenyans and it is April 15. By that day, on the instructions of the authority that regulates mobile telephony, those who have never registered their SIM card a second time, after being called to do so in 2012 and 2018, from whichever phone company they are with, must go to Safaricom, Airtel or Telkom Kenya points and do so, under penalty of having their phone number deactivated.
Recently foreign residents with Safaricom cards have been warned with a text message to go to the operators and re-check their data, and on that occasion the employees should (conditional obligatory) have re-registered the card as well. On that occasion, the data, passport or ID card, was also requested and a digital photo was taken and then entered into the system.
All others, and even those who travel and do not always access the Kenyan SIM, must go to a store of the relevant company by the 15th.
This rigmarole is critical, according to the mobile regulator, to prevent increasingly frequent fraud by hackers using fictitious numbers.
"We are committed to doing our best to ensure that all our customers comply with the directive and urge them to ensure compliance before the deadline," Safaricom says in a note. "We encourage all customers who have yet to update their registration details to do so immediately to avoid the last-minute rush.
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