The digital travel locator app, Jitenge, launched on June 18 for domestic airline travel across all Kenyan ports of entry has recorded a slow uptake, two weeks after its introduction to eliminate physical documents as an anti-Covid measure.

Domestic airline passengers using different airports and ports continue to use the manual clearance process instead of displaying the received Quick Response (QR) codes on their phones. A spot check by The EastAfrican shows that most airports are yet to implement the directive.

“I have travelled through different airports in Kenya for the past one week but I have not even been asked about scanning the QR codes, I still fill papers at the airport for contact tracing,” said John Mbugua who had travelled from Nairobi to Lamu via Mombasa.

To address user challenge, the ministry of Health asked non-Android phone users to consult with port users for clearance which caused delays in the clearance thus forcing the government to rethink its implementation.

“Iphone users that are not able to access QR codes on their e-mail address should check in their system downloads or present their phone numbers and passports numbers at the port health desk to enable them to retrieve the QR code,” reads a communication to passengers by the Head of Port Health Services, Benjamin Murkomen.

The department said it will suspend the usage of the USSD code *299# after the successful piloting of the application Jitenge which was developed during this Covid-19 period to help the national and county governments in Kenya to respond proactively in efforts to flatten the coronavirus curve.