5 weeks, numerous visits and phonecalls later, I called up and was finally told that the passport was ready and I should go and collect it.
The Nyayo House banking hall where passport collection is done, has two counters. Counter 13(labelled "Enquiries") deals with general enquiries and checking of the passport status and counter 14 labelled "Collection of Ready Passports" is where you go to get your ready passport.
The process for collection is:
1. Present receipt at counter 13.
2. If passport is ready, retrieve receipt with newly written passport number and proceed to Counter 14. If not go home and try again in "a week" or "two weeks"
3. At Counter 14, hand over receipt.
4. Sit and wait for your name to be called out. (Big..nay..Mega screen TV provided for your entertainment..was tuned to Citizen TV on the day I was there..covering some KRA event)
5. Upon hearing your name..(over the din of all the people milling about in the hall), proceed back to counter 14 and collect your passport.
On the day I went, Steps 1-4 took about one and a half hours. I was pretty much fed up by the time I heard my name.
I proceeded to the counter to collect my passport and was met with the following (flippantly): "Hii yako haija teremka....angalia kesho".
I was gobsmacked.
Seriously??...Its not like I had just turned up out of the blue...I had actually phoned before I showed up and been told to come pick my passport. I had been through the process above (which by the way is the most retarded, convoluted system imaginable for the simple task of collecting a passport).....and a full non-productive morning later, I am just shooed away like beggar asking for 10 bob on the streets!
I was livid..stormed around complaining, asked to speak to officer-in-charge and was told he was in a meeting. So I left.
I phoned up in the afternoon and spoke to said officer-in-charge (Mr Karoki) and tried to relay the point that it is just not right to make somebody waste a full morning of their day only to not have their passport ready....he didn't seem too bothered by that point but instead told me to go the next morning and collect my passport from him personally (how nice of him to do me such a huge favour right? Big shot personally tending to my needs.). We agreed on mid-morning.
Next day turn up at 10am, he's not at his desk and there's a queue of about 6-7 people waiting for him. Wait in queue, he keeps coming and going, helps one or two people at a time then leaves. Eventually find myself at head of the queue at which point he has to rush of to do something. That was 11.30. At 12.30, his secretary tells me he's gone for lunch and that I should leave and come back at 2pm. I refuse. She mumbles to herself and leaves me alone. 10 minutes later, Mr Karoki comes back and personally goes to dispatch and gets me my passport...at 1pm.
BTW, while I was waiting for Karoki for 3 hours, I overheard his secretary talking to one of her pals about how Alfred Mutua's office called cos he needed his passport replaced and she had to direct him to 2nd floor because "huko ndiyo wakubwa wanafanyiwa".
I've left afew details out because I could be posting bout this til the new year but I hope the gist of my experience comes across.
Will post my observations and opinions at a later time.