ACHILLES' HEEL

Lessons from the American fiasco

The biggest atrocities on earth have been committed by leaders who believed they knew everything.

In Summary
  • The first is to elect men and women of integrity. Trump had serious integrity issues, including sexual abuse and groping women.
  • Then there is experience. Trump had absolutely no experience in public administration and or management.
US President Donald Trump.
US President Donald Trump.
Where there is no vision the people will perish
Bible

On August 6, 1945, during World War II (1939-45) an American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first deployed atomic bomb over the Japanese City of Hiroshima. The explosion wiped out 90 per cent of the city and immediately killed 80,000 people; tens of thousands more would die of radiation exposure. Three days later, a second B29 dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 more people.

Within days Japan’s Emperor Hirohito announced his country’s unconditional surrender in a radio address on August 15, citing the devastating power of “a new and most cruel bomb”. Thus the United States of America entered the global stage with a bang! America has never left the global stage and remains a reference point to the rest of the world, with Russia tenaciously playing catch-up.

On July 20, 1969 Apollo 11, an American lunar module was the 1st to land humans on the moon led by Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar pilots Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. America once again stamped their technological superiority on Planet Earth. On the political scene America exported democracy to the rest of the World at times with reckless abandon. Apart from a reckless misadventure in Vietnam where America allegedly lost 50000 men and women they have bestrode the globe like a colossus constantly reminding all and sundry of their “top dog” status.

All the above was factual and true before America was hit by a cataclysmic force known as Covid-19 that has left its health infrastructure reeling. America’s fatalities are more than twice the deaths in any other country. The Boston Globe in an editorial stated that President Donald Trump had “blood on his hands”. It argued that Trump’s “narcissism, incompetence, callousness and colossal failure of leadership” had caused an unthinkably staggering number of deaths from the coronavirus.

Kenyans have done a similar experiment with the Nairobi governor with disastrous results.

It is a massacre and most of the victims are either blacks or Hispanics. The biblical quotation “Where there is no vision the people will perish” rings eerily true. How did the world’s wealthiest and most technologically advanced nation fail so spectacularly? The answer lies in leadership. Trump failed to show firm leadership and give direction in time of crisis.

He fumbled and mumbled and in most instances the message (if any) was lost in contradiction. The man is a walking contradiction. State governors who looked up to him for leadership are disappointed. Others, like New York’s Andrew Cuomo, took charge, drew their own roadmap, followed it and implemented policy, thus, flattening the Corvid-19 curve. That’s leadership.

On our local scene there are lessons to be learnt from the American health debacle or is it a leadership fiasco? The first is to elect men and women of integrity. Trump had serious integrity issues, including sexual abuse and groping women. There are currently some presidential candidates with serious integrity issues including but not limited to corruption and land grabbing. 

Then there is experience. Trump had absolutely no experience in public administration and or management. It is therefore no surprise that neophyte Trump failed spectacularly as he was wet behind the ears. Kenyans have done a similar experiment with the Nairobi governor with disastrous results.

In our current crop of presidential candidates Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka stand head and shoulders above the rest on experience in public service administration and or management. Education or relevant education is a definite plus. The economy performed at optimum levels under the stewardship of an economist, retired President Kibaki.

Kenyans must avoid the know-it-alls. The biggest atrocities on earth have been committed by political leaders who believed they knew everything—Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Trump, Robert Mugabe and Mobutu Sese Seko. Finally, anger management and personal hygiene/discipline should made compulsory examinable subjects in Kenyan schools.