Fomu

Even persons with a neat handwriting can never fit in all the requested figures, codes and names in the minimal writing spaces.

Even persons with a neat handwriting can never fit in all the requested figures, codes and names in the minimal writing spaces.

Never before have I filled in as many forms as I have here.

Usually these forms are asking for the same details.

Even within one institution, like a bank or a municipal office where all one’s personal files are held, one has to repeat the exercise time and time again.

Either because it concerns another department or service, but more often because it is just the rule.

The forms are there and must be filled (sometimes even twice or three times) so they can be copied, stamped and signed by many different people.

Another story: withdrawing money from one’s own bank account.

Above a certain maximum one has to obtain an approval signature of a designated manager first before proceeding to the counter.

At least two queues later and after a few more stamps and signatures one can leave with the cash.

Also tax offices have a wide selection of fomu.

Although one may submit forms online (very modern) — one then needs to print the online version (in three copies) and present them signed and stamped at the tax office counter.

And then again the next month.

WCF, the workers compensation fund, is another amazing example.

At startup last year it was quite a small scale and reasonably fast and hassle free office.

Now, a year after having accumulated fees from businesses, the office bureaucracy has become tenfold with as many additional employees.

At least three books have to be signed at entry and a pile of forms need to be filled even if during the past year all company details were known and monthly fees have been paid and hopefully registered in a system.

Despite the hassle of always filling forms, my one major frustration of fomu is that the space for writing is impossibly small.

Even persons with a neat handwriting can never fit in all the requested figures, codes and names in the minimal writing spaces.

Welcome to the challenges of fomu!

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About the Author

Josie van den Hoek

Josie first visited Dar es Salaam in 2000 and is still here. She writes about encounters on her daily walks and Tanzanian life.