Monday, August 3, 2009

Anyone want to "airlift" Kibaki speeches?

Even after the landing of two fibre-optic cables – Seacom and Teams – it appears that old habits are going to be hard to break.

Last Wednesday, the Office of the President put out a tender notice inviting bids for various supplies and services. Top of the list was OOP/PA/001/2009 – 2010, which requires someone to bid for “Airlifting of Presidential Speeches”.

Let us examine the options. Scenario One: The President travels separately from the speech he is giving away from State House – in some remote part of Kenya, even abroad -- so that should something interfere with the one, it should not affect the other. It makes perfect sense to airlift his speech.

Scenario Two: the President is delivering his speech on a national holiday, say Moi Day on October 10. The speech needs to be read in real-time at the provinces as the Head of State delivers it. Thus, eight speeches are required in each of the eight provinces. Quite some bit of flying there, and all absolutely necessary.

Scenario Three: Email the darn thing. Information and Communication permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo can tell you it will cost less than Sh5 to get the President’s speech anywhere in the world. Dr Ndemo is one of those people who sound like a prophet preaching in the wilderness. He has seen the glory of the coming of the fibre-optic cable – the super information highway. By his reckoning, if the government were to step away from paper by accepting e-applications, sending e-speeches and doing just a fraction of its work on the internet, the Kenyan taxpayer could save Sh50 billion – just like that.

That is the kind of money that can pay everyone who has encroached on a forest in Kenya to leave, plus change. It is the equivalent of what it costs to build 100 new schools, or what the ministries of Public Health and Medical Services received in the budget this year. The government has sunk over Sh4 billion in the fibre optic cable. Let it be the first to demonstrate how life can be faster, cheaper and more efficient by turning to e-governance.

Scenario Four: Someone needs to make money off the government, and an avenue is being created here to eat. Airlifting presidential speeches indeed!

1 comment:

biggerpic said...

Me! Me! I have a station wagon that can drive anywhere in this Kenya... but at 60kph