ARUNGA: Being Kenyan has become a burden - Daily Nation

Being Kenyan has become a burden

Tuesday March 5 2019

By ABIGAIL ARUNGA
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We are Kenyans in a Kenya that is trying to take each and every single one of our Kenyan coins. It's getting to the point where living in Kenya is nearly untenable. We're taxed repeatedly for things we shouldn't be taxed for. For example, you're taxed on your salary if you get a salary. The Kenya Revenue Authority is coming after you to declare that you don't have a salary. Every time you buy anything, you're taxed even further. You're made to pay for things you had no idea about and no clue that you were required to participate in. And even after that hefty taxation, you're told that you should come run in Beyond Zero to support maternal health care – even if you paid for that too, and were told that maternal health care is supposed to be free, or subsidised. The worst part is that you know that is a lie – because if it were subsidised, then a man wouldn't be trying to run out of hospital with his baby in a bag to avoid a Sh56,000 fee.

CHEATED

It's insulting, really. It's insulting that our leaders are fine with letting this level of corruption slide. And we insult ourselves even further when we insist on voting in the exact same people next time. That 200 bob you pay for City Council parking is funding some deputy governor's serviced apartments in Lavington – and someone will still steal your side mirrors right off your car because that 200 bob is doing absolutely nothing outside of buying yourself a false sense of security. And speaking of buying, after buying into the lie that is the Standard Gauge Railway project, which, for all intents and purposes, cannot even fund itself, the government – your government – wants to buy old trains to put them on tracks that cannot accommodate them, as a supposed solution to the transport sector.

HUDUMA CARD

Your government is perfectly happy to increase the sideshows and decrease services, because all it does is grandstand and deflect. We're in debts running into the trillions, more than we can handle? Let's talk about Akothee's legs. Unemployment and crime is rising as surely as the sun? Let's introduce a useless system that no one understands so that Kenyans can whinge about that.

I'm talking about the Huduma Card. This card is really getting my goat, so much so that after I write this article I probably won't talk about it again. It's adding insult to the injury on top of the insult. So here is how I see it: the government already has all your information. And there are multiple ways in which it does so, and there are multiple ways in which it can assimilate this information. They can do it through M-Pesa registration details, or banks, or even the people who have passports, or school registries – hell, there was an entire program about three or four years ago that acquired information in the same way the Integrated Population Registration System (IPRS), touted by the Immigration Department, does. So why do we need this number? Why does it have to be linked to MasterCard? Who asked for this card? Who assumed that Kenyans are at the financially solvent level where this card makes sense? Who thought we are America? And finally – how the hell is it legal to deny Kenyans government services if they don't have a card that they shouldn't even be required to get?

I think we need to just start silently refusing, as a nation, to be honest. Small resistances that won't cause people's death (protests can be scary, I would know), things that you can do at home. Like not getting this card that is a money-making scheme for the next elections (that's my conspiracy theory). Honestly, this Huduma Card thing is a sham and I want no part of it.

Twitter: @AbigailArunga