Mogamma 2.0

Egypt’s, “The Mogamma,” seems to have opened a branch office in Vicchio. The Mogamma is an infamous building in Cairo which houses 30,000 civil servants representing just about every sector of the government. It is famed within the country as the nexus of catastrophically burdensome bureaucracy. It is often said that many poor citizens have entered and never found their way out again, much like the paperwork that is the life blood of the place.

Now Vicchio’s Municipio is nowhere near as big as Cairo, but it does seem to finding ways of emulating its more famous Cairene cousin. What it lacks in scale it makes up for in obtuseness.

I have experienced this here and there over the years but not in a long while. But yesterday I was reminded in a very acute fashion. I am trying to apply for residency before Brexit kicks off next March and I am aware that the process takes 45 days to complete so it makes sense, given the Mogamma nature of the Municipio, to start the process now.

I have now visited the Municipio five times.

I came the first time to understand the process, the second to bring the papers they told me I would need, the third to bring other papers they told me I now needed during the second visit, the fourth to bring papers they told me I now needed during the third visit, and now the fifth to bring papers they told me I now needed during the fourth visit and to notify me that my insurance card, which they told me to bring the first time, was now not what they needed and that I would need to buy a private healthcare policy from an Italian insurance company to cover regular doctor’s visits such as check ups. I told them my intention was to continue having those checkups in the UK as I am already paying for that service through my NHS, and the card they told me to bring at the start covers all emergency services while in Italy.

They got that glazed look that only civil servants get. They reminded me that there was no point trying to bring logic to the process as it was strictly forbidden and the true enemy of the civil service and bureaucracy in general. They took some pity on me, or perhaps on Cosmo who looked as distressed as me, but more handsome. They told me, ‘sotto voce’ that I could cancel the insurance as soon as residency was granted and get a refund for the unused portion of the policy. BTW, the 45-day countdown does not start until all the documents are submitted.

2 thoughts on “Mogamma 2.0

  1. Oh my. Sounds like an old engine that stutter starts….time and time again…while you hold your breath to see if it will run.
    Fingers crossed for you.


    1. That is a great analogy, Lauren. Yes, it is a catch-22 scenario. Still trying to unravel this conundrum. fingers crossed!


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