Tag Archives: progress

Good News – A Politician Who Gets It

Gals and guys, please lets give a virtual standing ovation + round of applause + drum circle hum to one Dr. Alfred Mutua, the governor for Kenya’s Machakos County. Now, here is a politician who gets it. One who knows what leadership with a purpose means. One who is not too busy pretending to be doing important things by driving around in a luxury vehicle. One who is actually doing important things. One who is taking active steps to ensure the progress of his community. One who is not too afraid to do the work. One who exemplifies the type of leader that Kenya needs.

At the beginning of the year, Dr. Mutua launched a comprehensive security program for his county complete with security officers, security dogs, a security call center and 120 new security vehicles. Security officers have been notorious for not responding in times of need either because they claim they have no vehicle or no fuel for available vehicles. In some cases people have actually been told to commit to buying the fuel before security personnel can respond…SMH. We all know the importance of security. This comprehensive program is thus very welcome. Oh…CCTV cameras have also been installed around the county. Now, if only other county leaders could borrow this leaf.

He also launched a bursary program at the beginning of the year. The Kshs 80M (a lot of money in any currency) fund “is going to benefit orphans, bright and talented students and vulnerable children in the County.” Yes! Investing in the children secures their future and that of generations to come. Also, education is power and a stepping stone to many a realized dreams. After launching the program, he visited a high school in the area and committed to donating money to help them complete a block of classrooms that were under construction. Yes! Ensuring that the students have conducive learning spaces is a step in the right direction. You hear that Mr. President et al.!? Rushing to give students laptops before making sure that they are no longer forced to sit on stones and learn under trees…hmmm.

Earlier this month, he launched the Machakos Peoples’ Park complete with a fountain, amphitheater, benches and washrooms. The park looks great…at least from the pictures that I have seen. It’s all part of a tourism program to attract both local and international tourists to the county.  Another initiative is “Machawood” which is an entertainment center for film, music and arts. This is an exciting one for me. There is so much talent in the area. I remember growing up in Machakos and going to watch plays on Friday nights with my family. Having a center dedicated to this is a win not just for Machakos but any county.

He hasn’t stopped there. The Machakos County government is in the process of constructing major roads within the county. Teams have also been put in place to make sure that any road maintenance issues are addressed with speed and accuracy. The governor and his government are also working with farmers in the area in order to boost agriculture and ensure food security in the region.

Some people on social media say that the governor is being over ambitious. Well, I would rather that than having zero ambitions like most of our politicians. Dr. Alfred Mutua is taking the necessary steps to promote socio-economic growth and development in his county. Kudos to him! I, for one, am looking forward to his other projects. He seems to have a solid plan in place and I hope he has included in that maintenance plans for everything. I urge you to visit his page “Dr. Alfred Mutua” on Facebook for regular updates on the goings on in Machakos County as relates to this.

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African Proverbs, Irony and Leaders

Every day BBC Africa tweets an African proverb. Today’s proverb, sent from Uganda, is “You do not punish a fish by throwing it in water.” Deep stuff – when you really think about it – as most proverbs tend to be.

Isn’t it ironic that it is an African proverb? Considering the fact that we, Africans, seem to have a knack for punishing fish by throwing it in water. What am I on about?

Well, let’s take our “leaders” for example. Every election year, they make these grand promises about how they will transform our countries and improve our lives. We gladly vote for them. Once in office, they swiftly switch to the corruption lane and take the exit to personal wealth accumulation. We spend the rest of their term waiting for them to reassure us that they still have our best interests at heart. We hope that they will make an effort to fulfill just one promise or at the very least feign interest in fulfilling even half of that promise. But nothing. They continue to busy themselves with themselves until the next election when they pound the campaign trail with reworded promises. We vote for them again and the cycle continues. We fail to hold our leaders accountable. Instead we reward them for their inaction by putting them back in to the very positions that they use for their own benefit and our detriment.

Wouldn’t we be better served by using our vote  to ensure the progress of our communities? By voting back in only those leaders who are efficient and doing a great job? By denying leaders who are enemies of progress any audience come election time? By voting in terms of performance and legitimate sustainable plans instead of ethnic relations? By realizing that the culture of accept and move on will not get us anywhere? By asking ourselves what kind of a society we would like to live in and then working to build it?