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LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE

Where are wazees like Magoha to govern Kenya?

The Magohas can’t play and even have a chance of winning in this game because they’re principled men and women who find the game itself dirty

In Summary

• Mahoga is outstanding; the question is why the Mahogas are not leading the county at the top?

• We need an mzee to succeed President Kenyatta. Only Raila Odinga fits the bill, DP Ruto has yet to earn the Mzee title in the Magoha sense. 

Education CS George Magoha
CAUTION: Education CS George Magoha
Image: JACK OWUOR

In an introduction to his book Tower of Transformational Leadership, we are told that in physical stature, academic achievements and leadership acumen, the book’s author, Prof George Magoha, is a towering figure who continues to bestride the medical profession and corporate leadership like a colossus.

The narrative goes on to note, as is evident in this memoir, that he has led many institutions and risen through the ranks purely on merit. He was the first competitively recruited vice chancellor of the University of Nairobi, which he transformed into its current world-class status. His transformative leadership style, we are told, saw him steer the university during one of its most challenging periods, including ever-present financial constraints, staff apathy and student unrest.

 

Since this intro was written, Magoha has added one more accomplishment as Education Cabinet Secretary, where a good case can be made that he has made a difference in the few months he has been in the post — more than his two predecessors combined. Seriously.

 

But the question is, why are the Magohas not leading the country at the top? Yes, we know we had our Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and now retired presidents Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki but all those were wazees of their time who, with the exception of the latter, rose to power and at the top not exactly because they had the academic prowess and leadership skills as manifested and embodied in the Magohas of our country.

To be sure, there are not that many Magohas in the country, to begin with; rather, the point is they are there and chances are one can pass them on the street without knowing them. We can’t miss recognising the least academically endowed or those without an ounce of leadership skills because they’re the loudest noisemakers in the class, with nothing substantive to contribute to the debate, or learning for that matter.

That’s precisely what’s wrong with our political system that rewards incompetence and those who game the system for purely personal, not communal or national gain.

The Magohas can’t play and even have a chance of winning in this game because they’re principled men and women who find the game itself dirty and prone to all manner of shenanigans and stupidity they would rather stay away from.

There’s also another quality or trait these Magohas have in common, and that is, they like to make their money the old-fashioned way: By earning it.

They have no corrupt bone in their body and that's another reason they wish not to be bothered with the man-eat-man-or-woman system of corruption so entrenched as to suck in everyone who tries to earn a good, decent living from the economy.

 
 

The outcome of their decision to do so is that everyone loses: They lose, their families lose, their communities lose, the whole country, and, indeed, the whole continent loses because their potential is not tapped to the fullest. But what a difference it would make if that were not the case.

 

President UThe Magohas can't play this game as they’re principled and find the game dirty. Uhuru Kenyatta may not be a mzee like his predecessors but, to his credit, he has given us some Cabinet Secretaries who have proven to be average in carrying out their duties and others who are extremely overrated. And now Magoha who reminds us all there’s hope in righting what’s wrong in the country.

The President now needs to do what naturally should follow in giving us this fine mzee so effectively tackling problems at the Education ministry. Let him do everything he can to give us a mzee to succeed him and none other than Raila Odinga fits that bill.

His Deputy William Ruto doesn’t fit the bill,  he has yet to earn the Mzee title in the Magoha sense.

That time may yet come, but it’s not now, not 2022.