Tag Archives: International Criminal Court

On leadership + African (read Kenyan) leaders

I came across this tweet by The Elders, a group of independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights, that got me thinking: “How can we encourage leaders who put common human values above their own interests?”

Their question is not specific to a particular region but I immediately thought of African leaders because a good number of them are driven by their own interests. Why is it that we continuously end up with such leaders? We, the voters, are partly to blame. We vote along ethnic lines instead of qualifications and a person’s past records. In our myopic vision, we sell our votes for quick short-term returns, and sweep the long-term repercussions of such actions under the proverbial rug. The other share of the blame belongs to these life-long leaders who take draconian measures to ensure that they, and theirs, remain in power. Such leaders are puzzling. They want to remain in power but are not even moderately interested in fulfilling the responsibilities that come with holding those positions. Doesn’t it bother them at all that their presence doesn’t enhance their constituents’ lives…that it in fact makes them worse? But I digress…

Back to the question, how can we encourage leaders who put common human values above their own interests? A change of attitude is needed. For a long time, political positions have been seen as money making machines. Sadly, this is an attitude that has been passed on from one generation to the next, particularly with the “it’s our turn to eat” concept. This has largely been due to the precedent set by previous leaders. People get into office, redirect public funds into their personal accounts, enrich their relatives and sometimes their communities, and then sit back and buff their nails. It became clear that the only way a community would progress is if one of their own was in a position of power. This issue can also be tackled by enacting laws that ensure leaders cannot personally benefit from public funds and their positions. This will deter the I-am-posing-as-a-leader-just-so-I-can-get-rich-quick-and-live-la-vida-loca individuals lurking out there.

With attitude change comes a shift in behavior. If we move away from “it’s our turn to eat” then we are more likely to vote based on successful leadership potential and past performance records. This will enable us to hold leaders accountable, me thinks. We won’t tolerate their nonsense, until the end of time, just because they are from our community and they occasionally throw money at us. If they fail to deliver, then in the next election cycle, we use our vote to replace them with people who are ready to get the work done.

Maybe we should try pegging reelection to performance. If a leader is a non-performer during their time in office then they don’t qualify to run for office again. Their performance could be evaluated based on their impact on socio-economic  and political development within their constituency. For example, if your constituency doesn’t have functioning infrastructure when you get into office and it still does not have functioning infrastructure at the end of your term, then you don’t qualify to run for reelection.

Lastly, shouldn’t there be a limit to the number of times a person can run for reelection? Some of our leaders have turned their positions into lifelong careers. The problem with this is that they get to a point where they become complacent and take the position for granted. Limiting them also allows fresh blood to be injected into the system every now and then. Additionally, a time limit will prevent leaders from sleeping on the job term after term, and baiting their constituents with “I will pull up my socks just give me one more chance” promises.




Uhuru Kenyatta and 25 Presidential Promises

Kenya’s presidential inauguration was held today. Uhuru Kenyatta’s inaugural address focused on his administration’s agenda. He called on Kenyans to hold their leaders, both at the local and national level, accountable. In order for the citizenry to do this effectively then they need to be aware of their leaders intentions. To that end, this blogger has compiled a list of the promises that Uhuru Kenyatta made in his speech.

To Kenyans

100-day Promises

  1. Abolishment of maternity fees
  2. Access to government dispensaries and health centers free of charge
  3. Development of a framework to direct the Kshs 6 billion allocated for the election run-off towards establishing a new Youth and Women Fund
  4. Enact measures to ensure that all students, joining class one next year, within the public school system receive a laptop
  5. Support devolution and enable county leadership to carry out their constitutional mandate and fulfill the pledges they made

Term Promises

  1. Prioritize unemployment
  2. Harness the gifts and talents of the youth in order to make sports and entertainment providers of profitable livelihood and make Kenya a global leader in these areas
  3. Simplify the process of starting and running a business in order to make it friendly and cost-effective to do business in Kenya
  4. Expand electricity generation, extend the transmission network and ensure that electricity supply is more consistent and reliable
  5. Increase accessibility through roads and rail networks, as well as increase digital connectivity
  6. Create an enabling environment for the private sector so that they can play their part in creating employment and fostering economic growth
  7. Diversify the country’s economic base
  8. Ensure that government supports local industry by buying Kenyan first
  9. Ensure that the national government reflects the true face of Kenya
  10. Ensure that the interests of women and young people are represented in government
  11. Support the National Land Commission as they seek to provide the land answer
  12. Exploit Kenya’s natural resources in a way that benefits the current generation while safeguarding the interests of generations to come
  13. Protect the environment
  14. Ensure the peace and security of the citizenry

To East Africans

  1. Continued commitment to fight terrorism and eradicate piracy
  2. Commitment to regional trade and cooperation, and strengthening of ties through the free movement of people, goods and investment, including the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade within the EAC

To Africans

  1. Continued partnership and alliance
  2. Unity in continuing to insist on relating with all nations as equals, not juniors, and as partners, not subordinates

To the rest of the world

  1. Ensure continued partnerships and invitations to invest in Kenya
  2. Uphold Kenya’s international obligations, so long as they are founded on the well-established principles of mutual respect and reciprocity