The Next Leadership Era
It’s that time of the year when Kenyans are in the process of making decisions concerning their next leadership era. Kabaki’s tenure as the President of Kenya officially expires on the 4thof March 2013 and hopefully Kenyans will usher in a new President and a new political era. In my musings, I’d say Kenyans will fire Kibaki and hire a new President. My hope and prayer is that, finally we may get a woman President in Kenya.
It is also important to note that, 2013 will mark an unprecedented era for Kenya following the enactment of a new constitution which changed the structure of government to include elected governors, senators and county representatives.
With less than 6 months to go, political aspirants are putting in their final touches to ensure that they garner as many votes as they can as well as popularize themselves and their parties. It is that time of the year when all leaders are on the forefront calling on Kenyans to uphold peace, love and unity.
As Kenyans, we saw our country almost crumble as a result of the – violence in 2007/2008, which occurred largely due to election malpractices. Some of the effects are still evident, almost 5 years down the line. As a Kenyan, I make a personal plea to my fellow Kenyans; let’s not allow a repeat of whatever happened then. As the late Internal Security Minister George Saitoti said, there comes a time when the country is bigger than few individuals, hence let’s not allow some few individuals break the unity we have as a nation.
Last Sunday I attended a Church Service at Mavuno Church in Nairobi where Pastor Steve Mbevi took us through a criterion to consider while electing our next leaders. At the beginning of the sermon, we brain stormed on a few questions that I clearly found quite helpful, especially for people reading my blog.
“What makes one a good leader? / Who should I vote for and why? / Is there a score-card that we can all agree on, so that it will not just be about parties or tribe? / Should we give up looking for good leaders in dirty politics?” He asked.
Mbevi then took us through what he called a score card based on key qualities that a leader should not miss. I was very attentive, my reason being, I have already made up my decision as far as my next president is concerned. I am voting for a woman president. Initially, my vote was automatically going to presidential hopeful Martha Karua until Charity Ngilu stepped in. Now, I am yet to make a decision on which of the two I’ll vote for.
Pastor Steve insisted that we need to base our score card on the following qualities.
As Kenyans we have no choice but vote in leaders who are peace markers. We have come a long way and we do not want to lose what we have fought for, for this long. We need to ensure that the leaders we vote for, love and preach peace and unity.
A good leader, cares for his people. “A shepherd’s commitment is the welfare of his sheep. He spends time with them, knows them, meets their needs (water, food) and defends them from predators. He simply cares.” Pastor Mbevi said. It is very unfortunate that most of our leaders in our present government are very selfish and have neglected the very people who voted them into power.
A true leader is one who is interested in doing what is just and right. He knows that his character is the greatest asset to his political ambitions and therefore, he defends this to the core. Quoting from the Bible, Pastor Mbevi said “David shepherded the people with integrity of heart..” He associates a good leader with authenticity and swiftness to admit shortcomings. He can be trusted with power. A person of integrity submits to a higher power – from where he gets the absolutes, he said.
We are all aware that during election campaigns, many leaders will come with especially decorated manifestos; many will promise us heavens that get forgotten one year into politics. Remember, a good leader is one who values competence. People of competence have integrity. This can be evaluated from their past leadership track record. What has he/she achieved as a leader? What is he/she committed to do for the people?
(e) Compelling Vision
A good leader should have a clear vision of where he wants to take his people. Where does he see Kenya in the next 5, 10 or even 20 years to come? He should be able to see and paint a picture of the preferred future. The Bible cautions, “Where there is no vision my people perish” – Proverbs 29:18
As we came to the end of the sermon, we promised that we will use the above as a score card as we head into elections. By ensuring that our reasons for voting in certain people and leaving out others are genuine and we have done so with a rational mind, then we are taking responsibility for the KENYA WE WANT.
Pastor Mbevi cautioned, “Some of us argue that none of the candidates would pass this test. Vote for the one with the highest score. “What if he or she does not win?” You may ask. Vote for what is right, that makes you a winner even if your candidate does not win.”
There we go Kenyans, we have a score card, lets vote wisely. Good leaders are hard to find, that is true, but the days of voting based on our tribal background, status quo or economic status are gone. It is time we voted with a sober mind for sober people.
When we become people of excellence, then God will reward us for taking charge of Kenya.
“If you have sense enough to realize why flies gather around a restaurant, you should be able to appreciate why men run for political office.” Edgar Watson Howe.