It’s the 21st Century, but Would You Take a Look at the Kenyan Driving License?

For the longest time, about six months, the piece of paper below has been my (interim) driving license.

Interim driving license

Interim driving license

I was okay with it, because I was aware it was a temporary document while I waited for my driving license to arrive, hopefully by 30th of January 2014.

Turns out it must have been mailed to the wrong address, or got lost in the filing room which I hear is piled up with thousands driving licenses in no order, so finding a particular license there is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

So I waited for 3 months, the had the interim license renewed. If you scan the top left corner, you will see a green stamp with the extension date of 30th April, 2014.

I was sure by then, I would have my license. It was not to be. There was no avenue for inquiry, my dear friends. When I thought of going to queue at the Times Tower and the crowd of people that’s always there, I gave up.  There is no online platform to track driving licenses and I did not have the heart to look for a phone number. So I sent someone to have the renew the interim license a second time. Somewhere up on that picture, there is another faded green stamp showing extension to 30th June, 2014.

But I could not live like this, the interim license was already torn and frayed and I wanted a real license. The only way to do this is to apply for a replacement license, thereby assuming you have lost the original one. I ‘accelerated’ this process and got it in 1 day.

Finally, I have a Kenyan driving license. It’s big, heavy, bulky, outdated, backward, analog in every single way, impossible to put in your back pocket or wallet, inside it’s ugly, handwritten (with a bad handwriting to boot), badly stamped to indicate which vehicles I can drive (including your average Mitsubishi Canter), and several other pages I assume are for renewal purposes. Not forgetting that your mugshot, is literally GLUED to the driving license. SMH. WTF? Are we in the 18th Century? Even the ID department has upgraded to digital-like IDs!

So anyway, take a look at a US Driving License.


A US driving license in Texas

All information needed is contained there: Photo, DL number, Class of vehicle, expiration date, restrictions, address (blacked out) etc.. on a neat, standard card size of about 85.60 × 53.98 mm (like most credit/debit cards and IDs).

Us vs Kenya Driving License

Us vs Kenya Driving License

Now take a look at our driving licenses:

The Kenyan Driving License

The Kenyan Driving License vs the US Driving License

What is so hard about issuing digital (or digital-sized) driving licenses? This is an embarrassment. Our driving licenses need a total overhaul, not unlike that of the proposed new smart ID cards.

Someone at KRA is sleeping on their job. John Njiraini is the Kenya Revenue Authority’s Commissioner General. I need to forward this post to him. Who has his email?

We need modern driving licenses and I can advice.


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12 Responses to It’s the 21st Century, but Would You Take a Look at the Kenyan Driving License?

  1. Eddy Verbeek says:

    Now quickly sign the dotted line saying “signatory licensee” next to your pass-photo otherwise uncle police will still fine you for a non-valid driving licence #AvoidingBribes


  2. Mark Mwangi says:

    It has actually never been redesigned since the 60s. What the colonial guys left is what we use to date.


  3. Mackel9 says:

    Sometimes I confuse it with a passport, until they bring in people with new ideas and willing to change…
    EAK means East (E) Africa (A) Kenya(K), it is our international vehicle registration code


    • savvykenya says:

      Yeah it’s as big as a passport, original design 🙂 I see what they did there.

      However, times have changed. So should the design.


  4. woolie says:

    There are so many things wrong with this document, Savvy And it does belong in a previous age. There was talk of a small plastic licence to be introduced during the last administration but things got bogged down in the tendering process. Echoes of previous scandals….unfortunately.


  5. samy says:

    savvy how did you replace


  6. Pingback: Getting a Japanese Driving License | Savvy Kenya In Japan

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