Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Leadership - the only way to transform people’s minds and attitudes is to be consistent


Kenyans jubilation on August 27, 2010 during the promulgation of Kenya's new constitution

The problems Kenyans face today such as lack of political voice and inequitable access to services and opportunities have become a perennial predicament that leaders use to have their way out. Making us forget so easily where we were from - Kenyans Forget easily.

Little do we know that, “We often fight our circumstances, wanting to alter them? But the lesson is always waiting to be learnt. If we refuse to learn it, it will rebound on us again and again in various forms until we do learn it.”

Kenyans have braved so much since the era of one party rule through multiparty, however, when a glimmer of hope arises, petty self-interests become the greatest obstacles to structured social mobilization for political and economic transformation in Kenya. However, the Kenyan society can mobilize virulent violence when their collective racial or ethnic interests are threatened.

Our political leaders should get it clear, that the empowered Kenyan is not looking at the “what” they would want us to have because to them, this has been a pipe dream to them. What they would want to listen to, get inspired and become a call to a common goal of achieving the country’s hopes and aspirations is the “how” by bringing forth good policies that will make them feel appreciated as Kenyans and not Kenyans ready to vote because the same leaders are competing against each other.

Every election year,  many see it as a defining moment for the country; national elections and the establishment of devolved governance that the World Bank termed it: “one of the most ambitious programs of its type in the world”.

“The bulk of decentralization reforms will be implemented in 2012 and will impact Kenya’s social stability, service delivery, and fiscal health for years to come.  In responding to the economic crisis, Kenya’s policy makers will need to find the fiscal space required to deliver on the promise of devolution, while protecting public investment.

Get accountability right from the start.  Accountability should focus on both funds and performance, and systems should emphasize both central monitoring and reporting, but also maximize the involvement of citizens so they can hold their representatives accountable,” reads a section of the World Bank report.

Kenya seems to be at a cross road, a weak economy amidst a gloomy Euro zone, the Somali war that is eating into its financial pockets and not seem to end soon, labour woes, unemployment rate that is escalating each year with as more graduate into the job market.

Against this backdrop is the myriad number of candidates eyeing various seats from the national level to the County level, guessing who will capture the moments of inevitability is of course like speculating which financial products will trigger a new economic crisis.

The task is less to predict than to shape the future, and the main task is to identify the stakes involved in elections. How the contenders measure themselves against these stakes will shape the future of democracy in Kenya.

Incompetent leadership has gravely undermined the pace of countries socio-economic transformation. That it now begs the question; can democratic processes yield the caliber of competence that we see in our leaders?

Kenya’s path has generated into an absurd social inequality that has been fired up by corruption, and ethnic strife and impunity.

Outrage at official theft or abuse of office is frail and inoffensive. We adore the corrupt, tribal, greedy and selfish, insensitive, myopic and the redundant with orthodoxy system of leadership.

As such, voting ceases to be a political act in search of the common good, which often demands citizens to vote against their personal tastes and market-based preferences. Instead of being a political act, voting degenerates into the game of a giddy teenager; flighty, easily distracted and lacking in self-awareness.

The reason we elect leaders is so they can steal and share the booty with us.

Only the Kenyan voting public has the power to re-shape Kenya’s destiny whenever we hold general elections. I believe that citizens of Kenyan leaders are a creation of their respective societies.

It is against this backdrop that the search for candidates with a common touch will be of crucial importance. There should be no regrets, therefore, in voting against any pretenders whose business and political exploits have been detrimental to the lives of the ordinary people.

Kenyans must rise up, dust themselves up, begin to value their own freedoms, demand accountability for their taxes and hold their leaders to account for the decisions they make on behalf of the voters.

Kenyans must demonstrate to the world that the government of the people by the people and for the people has not perished.

Society rises on the pillars of respect and celebration of diversity. Society springs from a fundamental belief that different is not equal to less than. That difference is novelty.

Democracy can only flourish on the principle of citizenship. The problem is, the principle of citizenship is not the only game in life and it does not rule out other principles like religious affiliation or consumer identity.

The Kenya we have is built on the unyielding truth that politicians will protect us from the enemies of our tribe. Politicians decide which ethnic group(s) is friend or foe and rests on the aspiration that politicians from our ethnic community must be ensconced in power and grandiose privilege before we can get paved roads, clean water, medicines, a school, and a job.

Leadership requires consistency if we have to achieve that economic growth we dream of we do not have to keep changing our vision, the only way to transform people’s minds and attitudes is to be consistent.