A cross section of Kenyans Wednesday poked fun on a tender notice to airlift presidential speeches to various destinations forcing the government to cancel it.
Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku said the tender worth Sh12 million per year would not be awarded as earlier announced.
He said his Interior ministry would instead adopt secure ways to distribute the speeches.
Through the ministry’s spokesman Mwenda Njoka, the CS said it had a become a practice to advertise for such services but this was not tenable following the developments in technology.
“This tender will not be awarded but the ministry will adopt other secure ways of delivering the Presidents’ speech”, Mr Njoka said on telephone.
He defended the airlifts of the hard copies of the Presidents’ speech saying it was suited for those areas without proper infrastructure to ensure the speech was read at the same time through out the country which was however not the case any more .
“The government does not adopt to change easily but this mode is not sustainable any more. This tender will not be awarded”, Mr Njoka said.
Kenyans were taken aback by the announcement in Wednesday’s Daily Nation despite the government having campaigned on a platform of being digital.
They raised questions why hard copies of the presidential speeches have to be airlifted in an age of exponential growth in digital technology.
The tender was to close on June 18 with the pre-qualifications slated to be opened immediately.
A long-serving official in the provincial administration who sought anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media said administrators in the grassroots still have a budget to finance collection and distribution of the presidential speech.
Areas around Nairobi pick the bundles mainly for distribution during public holidays from the government printer after they have been cleared by the Office of the President.
For the marginal areas most of which have poor road network, they are divided into clusters where the hard copies are airlifted and later transported to the interior by road.
“Wananchi would want to get a copy of the speeches by the President especially those with the coat of arms for sentimental reasons which I think is the reason why the provincial administration continue to get a budget to pick and distribute the copies”, the official said in an interview.
He revealed that besides use of planes from the Police Airwing and the Kenya Wildlife Service, the office of the President have always maintained a supplier of air services for that purpose.
This is to ensure that the copies are at the grassroots either on the eve of the celebrations or early in the morning on the day of the celebrations.
Areas mostly serviced by the airlifts include the Eastern, North Eastern and Rift Valley areas that were originally referred to as provinces.
The official says the government tried use of electronic mail (e-mail) some three or five years ago but it was discontinued.
The tender is also soliciting for suppliers for service and maintenance of type writers at a time when they are becoming obsolete. The ministry is the second after that of Lands to advertise for supply and maintenance of typewriters recently.
Mr Njoka said there were some departments within the ministry that were still using typewriters.
He cited the Registrar of births and deaths as among the departments using typewriters for printing.
A Google search revealed that some companies in China, Japan and Indonesia were still manufacturing typewriters on order from correctional centres in USA partly because it was difficult to hide any contraband in it.