If Kenya is to achieve its goal of becoming an industrialised middle-income country by 2030, it will need first to gain a new style of democratic leadership, according to political commentator Tee Ngugi writing in The East African. For the first 40 years of Kenya’s independence, the country was essentially a dictatorship, controlled by secret police who would take any suspected dissident to Nyayo House’s torture chambers.
The country’s government created a culture in which tribalism flourished, mediocrity and short-cuts were rewarded, the acquisition of wealth was a virtue regardless of how it was acquired, selfishness and tribalism were expected behaviours, and no personal responsibility was taken for the performance of public duty. Now, however, the country has a new Constitution which assumes a different set of values and calls for a different style of leadership.
Ngugi suggests that the new leadership will require total commitment to the task at hand, personal integrity, innovation, diligence in implementing the Constitution, the ability to inspire Kenyans to see a vision for the future and work towards it, and the skill to create a new basis for political mobilisation that transcends tribalism. Unfortunately, while there are many candidates for the country’s presidency, the candidates are not displaying the necessary attributes.