There are services on which we have built our country that still remain unapologetically pathetic. Frankly, I can’t think of one area of service in Kenya for which I can say “That’s a well oiled up-to-date machine.” None. Meanwhile, I can pinpoint quite a few total failures. For the large part however, our country is plagued by average bare-minimum-type organizations. In this massive pool of mediocrity, pathetic-ness and incompetency, 6 particular services have managed to float to the surface as the end-all-be-all of Useless Kenyan Service provisions. In increasing order of uselessness, they are:
Oh, Zuku. We’ve been down this road before. So to avoid seeming biased, let’s perform the objective “Google Test”. Assume you were a curious new arrival in Nairobi and you were told Zuku had unlimited Internet for competitive rates. You are excited and want more information. Giddy as can be, try to Google “Zuku Customer Care” or “Zuku Customer Service”. You know what you’ll see?
Exhibit A: Complaints. Plural. It’s not like you Googled “The Devil is a liar”. Nah, you were looking for Zuku’s customer care and this is what you got. Angry Kenyans. In hoards. And we’re among them. Zuku’s made it onto our Soapbox twice. The first time they did, a Zuku rep replied and apologized. Kinda like you see in Exhibit B.
Exhibit B: Here is someone who managed to get Zuku to address his inquiry online. After browsing around, I realized that they do this quite a bit. It’s somewhat telling when you have staff prowling the web to quell complaints and STILL don’t have enough technical support to stop the complaints. Sell the brand, not the quality? Doesn’t seem to be working, folks. Reprioritize. Restructure. Do something. Quick.
Exhibit C: This is what you were initially looking for: actual customer care. Almost nowhere to be found.
Factor in their Russian Roulette type policies such as 24-hour refund windows and inadvertent billing and disconnection, and you have the number 6 contender on our list.
The top 5 is a very prestigious and contentious bunch. It’s like the Holy Grail of failure; the Academy Awards of inability to perform in the public sector. Leading off this countdown is a company that needs no introduction. They are the reason why when you get into an airplane at night and fly over Nairobi, you immediately assume our mains were either Christmas style lighting or someone is sending the man in the sky a large scale Morse Code S.O.S. The blinky unstable connection is the byproduct of our beloved Kenya Power & Lighting Company. Without getting into the techncialities of how they do what they do(or don’t do or that matter), let’s just say that it’s 2010, and this is Kenya. We should be front runners in energy matters. We have enough waves on our coast to power most of Kenya without fear of Tsunamis. We have enough sun in our Northern regions to harness enough solar power to bring those regions out of the Stone Age. And let’s not forget about that little thing called GeoThermal that could change EVERYTHING. C’mon guys. Pick up the slack.
I’m on Zain for the very specific reason that I got tired of Safcom’s BS 7 years ago. It’s very subtle and once it gets under your skin, you might as well begin the countdown to meltdown. I thought I was alone to notice this because not only does Safaricom have so many subscribers, they pass the aforementioned “Google Test”. Then I went over to my good friends’ abode, GotIssuez, and guess who was the numero uno complaint? Most of the complaints are Internet related, but once you begin to ask around, you’ll hear the vilest plethora of complaints imaginable. To begin with, their service is normally OK. But when it’s bad, it can get very bad. You ever call a Safaricom number on Friday and it’s mteja(unavailable, out of range, or whatever)? As the late, great Michael Jackson would sing: “Youuuu are not alooooone!” Then there are complaints of money disappearing, messages never being received, that completely inaccurate directory services that costs 20/= a call, etc etc. And behind the scenes, there’s drama too. They steal codes/programs, they underpay designers, and I’m yet to meet someone who works there that doesn’t cal it a slave-house. For the sheer depth and breadth of fuckery, SafCom lands in the top trio.
The Kenya Police however beat Safaricom because…welll, they beat everything. All the time. Viciously. Until it dies. And then deny it and feign self-defense. Whether it’s the itchy trigger finger or the loud mouth shenanigans, it is hard to feel safe around these guys even on a non-violent plane. But as soon as commotion erupts, you find that good & bad alike congregate and run away from the officers. Nobody is safe. Their bullets have no names on them and they seldom follow protocol. Everything is about making money on the side. You can’t even report a crime anymore and expect a reasonable outcome. It’ll either be a bloodbath or a missed call. Moving on..
Ahh… Matatus. What is there to say about Matatus that hasn’t already been said about Herpes? No matter how many stripes you put on them, or inspectors you send on the road, it won’t change a damn thing. They will be out there making life Hell until we’re all decayed and fertilizing fields. People need to realize that we do have alternatives. Nairobi isn’t infrastracturally defunct. Creating a metro transit authority and having 4 trains on 4 train routes cutting across Nairobi in North-South, East-West cross-sections, wouldn’t that be something? It’d take a train 30-45 minutes to cut from one side to the other, boarding included. 2 trains on each track and….BAM. Major routes covered. Better security, less traffic, yadda yada. I’ve said this before.
Do I really need to explain this one?