One day I was in church and the preacher struck my attention by reading out a scripture that says’ “one day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to olive tree, “Be our king.”But the olive tree answered, should I give up my oil, by which both gods and men are honored, to hold sway over the trees?” Next, the trees said to the fig-tree, come and be our king.”But the fig-tree answered,” should I give up my fruits, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?” Then the trees said to the vine, “come and be our king.” But the vine answered,’ should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and men, to hold sway over the trees?” Finally all the trees said to the thorn bush,” come and be our king.”The thorn bush said to the trees,” if you want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade: but if not, then let fire come out of the thorn bush and consume the cedar of Lebanon!”(Judges 9:8-15). As he continued to preach too the faithful congregation who thirsted for the message, my mind started to wonder and all I could think about is the kind of leadership we have been having in this country for a long time. As a country we thirst for leadership, and after every 5 years we all go to the polls to request for a certain “tree” to lead us, hoping he or she will take us to the next level of development and good governance.
It is a sad reality but for the past 49years we have been unable to get that kind of leader and instead we have been calling and shouting on top of our voices to the “thorn bushes” kind of leaders to come and leads us. We have gone to the extent of even calling them “baba na mama”, “shujaa”, “reformers”, and others “total men”. These kinds of leaders took an oath with themselves and subscribed to ethnic/tribal groupings, they have created their own chiefdoms and kingdoms within their ethnic tribes and declared themselves as kings and queens over those thrones. When they go against the rules, decrees, statutes and regulations that govern this beautiful country and end up battling with the system of law that is in place, they immediately run back to their ethnic groups and say that their tribe is being attacked.
Corruption is the breakfast of these leaders and they partake it in confidence and joy every single day. They lack vision for this country. To them leadership and integrity are just simple words that were crafted by an idle man seating down wondering what to do with his life and that’s why it was so easy for them to water down the current leadership and integrity bill to sort themselves come march 2013.
These kind of leaders are blind and posses selective amnesia when it comes to the daily struggles of life that their constituents face e.g. lack of basic and social amenities, to them they look at it as God’s plan for humanity and this is why they find it very hard to increase the salaries of teachers, medics, armed forces or the civil servants but they find it easy to stay up late when the country is asleep to pass a bill to grant each one of them close to 9.3 million. They call it a send off package after a long and tiring term and others even dared to fight for it because they have earned it after spending almost 5years going to retreats, campaigning immediately after the 2007 election, sleeping in parliament and passing unprecedented bills, taking time to craft ways of mutilating the constitution that was overwhelmingly voted for, taking time in the floor of the house and streets doing theatrics.
But should I blame these leaders or should I blame us. One thing that is clear is that we all know that the “thorns” these leaders have, and actually some even dare to make public apologies and all we do is clap and exalt them as true leaders. We all know the chains and baggage’s they are carrying but all we do is embrace them despite their “thorns”(corruption ,court cases, bad ethnicity, poor leadership) piercing us. We have become immune to the pain they cause us each day and all we crave for is just a leader, any leader even if he or she is a “thorn bush”.
My fellow citizens I would be lying if I say we don’t have the fig-trees, vines and olive kind of leaders in this country. Actually most of them have stepped out and requested us to elect them. Some of them have good leadership styles, the passion, and a clear vision for this country but because they are not popular we have disregarded them and instead we are up chasing and bowing down to the ‘thorn bushes’. Lets open our eyes and look around keenly and we will see that the right kind of leaders is just next to us. Lets choose wisely my fellow country men, Lets choose wisely.