Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Leadership

Why is a political leadership role such a thankless position?

One of the reasons for this is the fact that no one ever realizes how good things are until they get worse. Take for instance the case of the Israelites – under both Kings David and Solomon, they experienced a Golden age of sorts; However, they probably only fully realised this after they suffered extreme misery at the hands of successive rulers.

Bringing this context closer to home, we find an ideal parallel in the current Kenyan government. Even in this era, in which people might argue that the current
regime-in-power is better than its predecessor, it is not enough for the regime to be “a lesser evil” than its predecessor; inevitably, a more progressive attitude and display of composure is expected from it. Hence, despite the newly-granted freedoms and reforms in policy, sentiments of anger continue to be expressed by the general public.

Some of the expectations may be a tad exaggerated, and yet others are also justified, because people would agree that any regime that takes over from another has the valuable tool of Retrospect at its disposal. Therefore, the follies of a previous administration need not be revisited upon the innocent citizens; if mistakes have to be made, as undoubtedly they will, let them be new mistakes that we can store in our catalogue of “things that shouldn’t be attempted.” Despite how rarely we take advantage of it, history is a good teacher, and a swift rebuke lies in wait for anyone who tries to disregard the painful lessons that have already been spelled out in humankind’s long history.

Expectation is therefore the bane of the existence for any regime, and generally (apart from a few rare instances) regimes can never fully expect to achieve all that is expected of them. However, knowing that you cannot totally fulfil your obligations is not an impetus to slack off. It would be better for someone to heed the advice of the old saying:

“When you come upon a new place, either leave it better off than you found it or at least preserve it in its original condition.”

However, particularly in the case of Kenya, it is not enough for its leaders to maintain the country in its “original condition.” Kenyans want development and a refinement of the country, for this is the only way in which we can catch up with a global village that will not wait patiently as we try to get our act together.

Therefore, anybody who feels the urge to take up a leadership role should remember that there will always be vicious criticism and there will always be complaints. But, in the long term, if that person has the will to succeed, the necessary vision, and the machinery to bring that vision to fruition, then this nation might one day look upon a glorious past and recognize that person as the hallmark of its golden age.

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