Are our leaders capable of introspection?

Posted by on 29th May 2019

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The United Kingdom Prime Minister seat was rendered vacant last week after Theresa May announced her resignation just three years in office. This came as no surprise as pressure had been piling on her to deliver the Brexit promise, following the astounding 52% yes vote to Brexit that cued fellow Conservative Party Leader and former Prime Minister David Cameroon’s resignation in 2016.

Such a scenario is a rarity in the Kenyan context. Never has there been an instance where a leader transitioned out of office on the basis of failing to deliver that which he/she was expected to do. In the same breath, never has there been an instance where a leader, who was strongly opposed to a referendum, stepped down when said referendum was voted in by its citizens.

To refresh your memory, in 2010, 69% of Kenyans voted in favor of the new constitution that the current Deputy President, William Ruto was strongly rallying against. Which makes it quite puzzling as to how he was the 2nd in command in a government that was historically the first to be voted in under this constitution. Mr. Ruto even went ahead to term the constitution as “faulty” and was confident enough that the “No” camp would carry the day, only for them to garner 31% of the votes. President Uhuru Kenyatta’s stance, on the other hand, was questionable even being labelled as a watermelon alongside former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, despite being one of the constitution’s proponents at the time.

Fast forward to his presidency, and his true position on the new constitution has come out strongly for all to see. His actions have been a big mismatch to the lip service that he has paid us over the past 6 years. Being the final say when laws are passed, he has assented to some laws that have contradicted the role and powers of county government. Case in point, the National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF) and National Government Affirmative Action Funds (NGAAF) violate the principle of separation of powers and encroaches on county functions. Doesn’t the Big 4 Agenda, that the Jubilee legacy is pegged on, heavily reliant on counties for successful implementation? Isn’t that, therefore, an infringement of county functions?

If our government is to be placed on the same scale as Britain, then it’d become clear that the leadership of this country has immensely fallen short. We have become accustomed to leadership that deliberately fails on the accountability front with individuals refusing to take responsibility for their actions. We have witnessed several State Officials implicated in graft ignore calls to resign. If we go down memory lane, you’ll recall that on July 6th 2008, Mr Amos Kimunya then Finance Minister gave the bold statement, “I would rather die than resign” over the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel. This is well over a decade ago, and yet we see the same attitude adopted by other state officials today.

Were we to emulate the Britons, then we’d have leaders who genuinely self-evaluate, admit to mistakes and work towards doing better. Arrogance should not be accepted as a defense mechanism at the expense of citizens’ welfare. Arrogance should not be allowed to precede accountability.