Anybody who is trained in leadership will tell you that our leaders would make an excellent case study of ‘what not to do when you are in power’.
They will tell you that among others, it is imperative for a leader to have a guiding vision and then exhaustively communicate that vision with their team, for them to internalise it and ensure that everyone is reading from the same page.
Secondly, if you remember Kofi Annan’s words when he came to Kenya after the post-election crisis, they alluded to failed leadership as being a major causative factor of the violence that erupted. To date, not much seems to have changed.
Every decision seems to be pegged on an underlying motive of self-preservation or advancement. Even appointments and censure motions seem to be politicised. We are pulled in different directions by leaders who keep sending us mixed messages and leave us without a unified sense of direction. It is a political farce whose dramatic responses are played out in subsequent editions of the local papers.
Take for instance the contaminated maize saga. It should never be contentious whether the maize has been distributed or not! The MPs should do their homework and give us the real status instead of throwing around wanton alarmist statements. If indeed the maize has been distributed, we need to see legal action against the protagonists and the toxic maize recovered. This is not rocket science.
The same applies to the Mau scenario. Since we are in agreement of the need to protect our catchment areas, for me it follows logic that we should have a systematic relocation of the people who legitimately owned a piece of the land. This decision should never be debated by tribal chieftains whose main agenda is to antagonise their counterparts.
This brings me back to why I feel our leadership has failed and is incessantly failing us. As Kenyans, we know that human beings take on roles that will advance their personal lives. But we also know that leadership should ideally have a huge component of selflessness and service to it. Currently, we feel that the leaders’ own intentions seem to have overridden the needs of the Mwananchi.
We know that our leaders have been confronted by challenges never experienced before. What matters most is how they respond to such challenges. Our leaders, unfortunately, are dogged by an inability to execute decisions because their focus is short-sighted and selfish. Furthermore, instead of promoting their partnerships, they are more intent on settling political scores and undermining their opponent. If their focus then is ‘break’ rather than ‘build’ each other, we as Kenyans are the ones who will continue to suffer from their mixed messages and the inability to execute decisions toward a common purpose.
They say that a great leader should leave an organisation or a country in a better state than they found it. Would we find that to be true of our current crop of leaders?
If you look at matters of development and governance, is Kenya in a better place than it was five years ago? If you cannot answer that in the affirmative, then surely they have failed us.
It is time to demand more performance and accountability from ourselves as individuals, our religious leaders, our institutions and our elected leaders.
We have many outstanding and critical issues to attend to urgently. Some of these include:-
1. Finding how to deal with the economic melt down.
2. Job creations
3. Water/food security
4. Environmental protection including destruction of our water catchment areas.
5. National cohesion
6. Our youth issues
8. Quality of education
9. Health issues
These are just a few issues that are crying for leadership and commitments.
Please our leaders arise and make Kenya the Great Country that God created it to become. I hope we can all in the near future say, without hesitation “I am Proud to be a KENYAN”. Time is not on our side. YES, WE CAN.