Kenya runs out of number plates – again

The status of Kenya as a country running towards failure is greatly evident through poor or non-existent government planning. This time, the country has essentially run out of vehicle number plates.

Motor vehicle dealers are complaining of having to keep cars in long term storage due to a shortage in number plates supplied by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). New rules mean that a buyer cannot take a vehicle outside a dealership without registration. In the past, vehicle buyers could take the cars home while waiting for plates.

The KRA says that it is facing a backlog caused by heavy demand for the plates. Due to corruption in its ranks, KRA is creating a new numbering system for motorcycles and tractors. This was after the KRA command discovered its own officials were undervaluing vehicles by registering them as motorcycles and tractors which usually attract lower taxes.

Kenyan vehicle plates are manufactured manually by prisoners, resulting in poor quality. Indeed, Kenyan number plates are the worst in the East and Central African region. Formerly war-ravaged countries such as Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo seem to be doing a better job than Kenya.

Southern Sudan is also producing high quality vehicle plates that have drawn envy from Kenyans. Though just emerging from war, Southern Sudan has its own number plate manufacturing facility.

It is not only in vehicle registration that the Kenyan government is failing though. Kenyan cities are plagued by electricity and water shortages as government planning is unable to keep pace with population growth. Water projects intended for 500,000 people in the 1960s are now expected to serve 3 million people in Nairobi alone.

Kenyatta era hydro-electric stations on Tana River can only produce a fraction of Kenya’s electricity needs. The shortfall in production is currently filled up by expensive oil fired generators that seem to be the rage with Kenya’s ruling elite for rather obvious reasons: there is good money to be made supplying fuel to the power company.

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4 Responses

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  3. Kenya is not and will never be a failed state. Convicts should continue to make number plates as they have never been a problem before. Sudan is free to do as they like. After all, their vehicles are assembled in Kenya so who’s gaining more? As for electricity and water shortages, that is a choice Kenyans made by settling in the Mau forest and destroying catchment areas. How many hydro-electric plants have failed to open because the drought has worsened an already dire situation? Remember the Japanese project? Nuclear power is the cheapest today, and TZ has the world’s second largest uranium deposits, but efforts to get expertise to build a nuclear plant are opposed internally and externally. Every decision has pros and cons that ought to be discussed. The “evidence” above does not prove Kenya is a failed state.

  4. Not yet a failed state but we are getting there.

    Our structural deficiencies and inadequacies are not really due to incompetence but the severe occurrence of Corruption at every level of governance right to the Presidency.

    Imagine for a moment a situation where Jomo Kenyatta had adopted an ethical culture of personal probity and excellence in the first government of Kenya, rather than his orgy of Land grabbing! I believe Kenya would be ahead of SA today in practically many economic parameters.

    Kenyans have an extraordinary sense of resilience, self-worth and hard work that is incomparable with our regional neighbours. Unfortunately, most of this energy and advantages are wasted by the top leadership – united under the ideaology of amassing personal wealth from public resources.

    The question remains – how can we rid ourselves of this thieving culture nurtured from the Presidential level and inject a sense of integrity in state affaires?

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