•There is no doubt that great world orators from the past watched from above the skies with great admiration and those living followed the proceedings with gusto.
•The credit goes to the judges who under the leadership of those unpretentious and tactful women leaders
This month has had Kenyans glued to their television sets, tablets and mobile phones following live proceedings of the Presidential election petition at the Supreme Court.
The manner in which the apex court managed the process was highly commendable. Notably, the country paraded to the world how electoral jurisprudence has progressed.
This is in terms of respect and decorum from the apex court bench comprising of the judges and the members of the bar who were lawyers representing their respective clients.
These events showed the whole world that the nation’s electoral justice system has matured.
The bench comprised seven eminent judges supported by a battery of legal, research technical and administrative support staff.
There were over 100 members of the bar with well over 200 of legal, research technical and administrative support.
The nation was treated to a whole gamut of advocacy charms. This ranged from spiralling eloquence to lyrical, cultivated and down-to-earth advocacy.
There is no doubt that great world orators from the past watched from the skies with great admiration.
The credit goes to the judges who under the leadership of those unpretentious and tactful women leaders, the Chief Justice and the Deputy, brought immense dignity and decorum to a highly charged dispute.
The apex court in its composition and wisdom never attempted to steal the limelight. That left the advocates to do their bidding in the short period of time allotted and reserved for introspection.
Indeed the questions posed were adequately addressed in a professional manner befitting their legal training.
To paraphrase the words of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior, who opined that a genuine leader is the moulder of consensus and not a searcher of the same.
Closer home, Anti-apartheid hero and former South African President Nelson Mandela stated that leaders are like shepherds, they stay behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along, they are being directed from behind.
To understand the concept herein is an analysis of the lessons our political leaders should learn from the Apex court presidential election petition proceedings.
First, no matter the differences in opinion from your political competitors, there is no need to paint them with inflammatory language, abuses, contempt, vituperation and exaggerations. Focus on the relevant issues facing the electorate and avoid being personal.
Second, as leaders, they must always catechize their own position while providing anecdote evidence on how to resolve electorate matters before catapulting them for public assessment.
Third, there is a need to always maintain appropriate respect and decorum for the electoral process and fellow competitors, including for the parties. The lesson to pick was that there were no skirmishes in the Apex court, even when verbal altercations went south. The show of incomparable restraint requires to be emulated across the political leadership.
Fourth, in leadership, humour helps in dissipating tension among proponents. The proceedings from the apex court provided an apt example where there were carefully choreographed discourses between senior members of the bar which required the intervention of the bench to the satisfaction of all litigants' representatives.
Fifth, there comes a time when the baton of leadership must be passed to the next generation. The apex court proceedings once again presented an opportunity for showcasing some of the most talented and adorned lawyers in the country. However, their role was mainly mentorship and guidance. The background work was undertaken by mid-tier and upcoming advocates.
The amazing observation was that at crucial moments, the senior counsels turned to the mentee lawyers to address questions on which direction the case was likely to turn. In leadership, these should be emulated in nurturing young leaders and especially women to address the elusive gender parity.
Finally, leadership requires a vast ally of knowledge in all spheres of life to enable addressing all the challenges facing society.
Dr Njau Gitu
The writer is an Educator practicing as a Governance and Public Policy Advisor.
E-mail: [email protected]