Broken system: Horrors of Kenya’s public service

Broken System
Photo credit: | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • A seven-month Nation investigation reveals the rot in the people-facing sectors of public service, the humiliation with which Kenyans are treated every day, the putrid fumes of graft that waft into the high ceilings of public offices, and the deliberate creation of chaos by a criminal enterprise that has been allowed to milk, pilfer and dehumanise desperate Kenyans.

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Every morning thousands of Kenyans troop to government offices in search of services, and every afternoon they go back to their homes dejected, frustrated, and angry.

Seeking government services should, in a properly functioning system, be a smooth and dignified affair, where public servants actually serve the public. But a seven-month Nation investigation has revealed the rot in the people-facing sectors of public service, the humiliation and dishonour with which Kenyans are treated every day, and the systemic decay that threatens to grind government services to a halt.

In the first of a series of investigative stories, the Nation today is publishing the experiences of ordinary Kenyans caught in the sickening grip of a spiteful, mean and outrightly corrupt government machinery.

Our teams of reporters have shadowed these men and women for months, walking with them into the dreadful halls of government offices, watching from a distance as they are humiliated and taken through horrible experiences, interviewing them in the thick on their anger, and watching the last of their self-esteem and national pride melt away.

At the fabled Huduma Centres, the one-stop government service outlets that were billed as game-changers in service delivery, the Nation found a broken system that is powered by a well-oiled corruption network, while at one of the more famous public hospitals our team found neglected patients wasting away in dimly lit corridors and crowded wards.

At Bima House, where thousands of pensioners troop every morning to beg disinterested clerks to release their retirement dues, the Nation stumbled upon the depressing experiences of men and women who served this country with valour and gallantry, but who now live in penury as fat cats in the pension system line their pockets with their money.

This is a system running on the putrid fumes of shame, graft and humiliating disgrace. It is a deliberate creation of chaos in order to take advantage of desperate citizens. A vile, crooked and debased criminal enterprise that is designed to milk, pilfer and dehumanise. This… is a broken government teetering on the edge of planned anarchy.

Starting today and every Tuesday the Daily Nation, Nation.Africa and NTV will bring you the experiences of Kenyans seeking services in the corridors of power, and what the officials we trust to manage our public affairs say about this sad state of affairs. We will be diligent in our reporting. We will be bold and factual. And we will be relentless. Come along.

Have you been frustrated while seeking government services? Would you like to share your story? Please get in touch with us at [email protected]. Use “Feedback” as the subject.