On September 25, 2023, Safaricom’s M-Pesa mobile money transaction messages began with the alphabetical order RIP, commonly used as a shorthand for ‘rest in peace’.
While users would have easily overlooked this RIP, a handful of people did notice and took on Safaricom for allowing such codes to begin with these particular sequenced alphabets. Among them was former prime-time news anchor Linda Oguttu.
“Oya SafaricomPLC, Safaricom_Care. Mpesa codes cannot begin with RIP please….rukeni hiyo buana (skip those alphabets please),” said Ms Oguttu earlier this morning.
In response, Safaricom said, “Hello Linda, unfortunately, it is automatically generated by the system hence we are not able to change it.”
The conversation turned into banter as Linda asked Safaricom to “hand over the phone” to the system so that they could sort this matter out but Safaricom assured her that, “You are safe. No weapon formed shall prosper.”
However, Safaricom’s responses were not adequate enough for their customers who told them they could do better.
“The system was programmed by a technician, and it can also be reprogrammed to skip the code,” said The Peasant Farmer.
“Bwana your system has gone rogue,” added Sam NM KE.
“Ata NTSA walichorea stori ya kupeana number plates zinaanza na KDF (NTSA knew better and avoided issuing number plates that begin with KDF)…” added Joe Claver.
KDF in Kenya is popularly used to refer to the Kenya Defense Forces and civilians are not allowed to have number plates bearing these alphabets sequenced in this manner. The National Transport and Safety Authority issued vehicle registration plates KDE and then skipped to KDG.
To understand Safaricom’s code generation, a Kenyan user, Anagram254, attempted to explain how the telecommunications company goes about it.
“All M-Pesa codes for transactions made today start with RIP. R represents 2023. All M-Pesa codes next year will start with the letter S. I represents September. All M-Pesa codes next month will have the letter J as the second digit. P represents today’s date, 25,” said Anagram254 on September 25, 2023.
And true to Anagram’s opinion, Nairobi News can confidently confirm that today’s (September 26, 2023) M-Pesa codes begin with RIQ, giving credence to his explanation of the use of alphabets in the transaction messages.