Principles will rid us of debacles like Syokimau

Nothing was more horrifying than the sight of massive bulldozers demolishing magnificent structures at Syokimau, about a fortnight ago.

The act was extremely painful especially upon realisation that the properties are developed in the vicinity of a city, where the demand for residential property is continually insatiable. However, careful reflection on the matter yields some issues worth being put into perspective.

Uppermost of them all is impunity which ranks highly in the order of causes of many of our tribulations. At some stage in the life of this country, the laws of the land had seemingly been suspended. They appeared to apply only to petty thieves and criminals. The bigger crooks had their way of regaining freedom even after being nabbed. The political class was crisscrossing the nation like dinosaurs, doing as they wish, without the slightest regard for the constitution or the laws of the land.

It is not clear what motivated the acceleration of these behaviors. However, it is noteworthy that, Kenyans may have literally taken as truism, an assertion of the 90s by President Mwai Kibaki, when he was a vibrant oppositionist. He used to insinuate that when Kenyans are told a lie a thousand times, they end up believing it to be a truth. How then could impunity not be entrenched, under such prevailing mindsets?

At the same time, people were seemingly sick of a highly contagious disease called ‘grabiosis.’ It was a matter of grabbing whatever was viewed idle ‘mali ya umma’ (public property), not only in the city but also the countryside. Incidentally, we are a nation of people who believe in “me too brands.” So, something done by one person may end up being copied by everybody else.

That is how our nation had largely acquired an epidemic referred to as moral decadence. The same is as old as world civilization. The Roman Empire, Greece, Egypt and many other well known civilizations experienced the menace. Some of the nations encountered sometimes tragic revolutions, as they sought to regain their statures, as modernity continued taking shape.

Although Kenya can count itself lucky for not having gone through similar experiences, the dust is not fully settled as yet. Nonetheless, the same can be assumed to have been averted for now and the foreseeable future.

Actually, what better way than the rare peacetime constitutional review of 2010? Indeed, all implementation measures needed to be in place fastest possible for the intended constitutional realities to take shape. But, what really could have led to so much impunity and lawlessness culminating to the Syokimau debacle amongst others, even as we continue relying on new constitutional safeguards?

Perhaps, we can consider something known as scarcity mentality. As explained by Author Stephen R. Covey, people are driven by the notion that available resources are not enough for all. They pursue economic empowerment strategies which may not always be value driven. Alongside, futile competition for the opportunities ensues.

In our case, it becomes easy for crooks to take full advantage of the situation. They know that people are willing to take any path to acquire the seemingly scarce resources. That is probably why so many people end up losing sometimes genuinely earned wealth like in the case of Syokimau.

Ironically, people forget that there are infinite opportunities for all of us especially if we were to take full advantage of our birth gifts. We would only need to work on them through acquiring the necessary skills and attitudes. All that matters is structured personal development.

The end result is unleashing full personal performance potential thereby being paid handsomely for the efforts. That leads to abundance mentality, which when graced with patience and resilience enables us to acquire whatever we please in life without necessarily pursuing risky ventures like Syokimau.

In the absence, of this abundance mind frame, the new constitution hopefully comes in hardy particularly in light of chapter 6 on leadership ethics. The same is complemented by national values, which are enshrined in chapter 2 of the same document. Maybe, strict implementation of these attributes will not only save us from the impact of the greedy amongst us, but also ensure fairer distribution of resources, thus reversing the scarcity mentality phenomenon.

(Mwangi Wanjumbi is a Management/Leadership Training Consultant and CEO of Newtimes Business Solutions

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