Citizens need a clear ledger of public servants
Wednesday, December 18, 2019 22:00
By MBUGUA NJIHIA
Over the last decade, there has been a recurring meme poking fun of the 20/20 measure of visual acuity concerning the year 2020 that is now with us. At the close of each year and now with a transition into a new decade, wish lists and crystal ball listings are published, a peek in the future that may be.
The 20/20 meme had me thinking of what I have struggled to see or understand clearly and would, therefore, like to have improved going into the future. An answer has never before popped so clearly as it did this time, a deep understanding of government and clarity on its processes.
We as citizens are constantly being mined by the government in what is almost always an extractive process with zero perceived value addition as sampled from an increasingly disenfranchised population.
If it is not the Huduma Namba drive, it is the growing public surveillance network, the constant chase by the taxman to get its pound of sweat and a plethora of other activities that read Big Brother is watching, whether on a national security and sovereignty concern or revenue collection agenda.
On the other hand, the government through the eyes of the majority ‘wanjiku’ is seen through an opaque and fractured glass. It is never clear what to do or with whom to speak on matters of import for day to day living and conducting of commerce or the legitimacy of communication.
It starts with government employees. Those who carry business cards will have personal email addresses along with that which is issued by their respective ministry department.
The later often doesn’t work leading to a fallback on the personal. Up next is the ‘abuse’ of the government domain extension with an ever-increasing directory of websites and microsites in various states of management; stale content and non-responsive communication channels being the bane of many.
The lack of a publicly accessible human resource ledger and official (read as auditable and trackable) communication particulars is the government’s greatest disservice that breeds fraud, rent-seeking and gatekeeping.
It is possible to have a single wiki and portal for information, a scalable 0800 inbound line to access services and talk to public servants across the board, an outbound line with infinite extensions, multichannel payment and receipting gateway et cetera.
If the government wants a single view of us, we must agitate for a single transparent view of its entire workings ourselves.