Leadership, News

This is how to Achieve a 40 % Forest Cover One Tree at a Time

Between now and August next year, we are going to be treat­ed to hun­dreds of polit­i­cal ral­lies as Kenyans cam­paign to be elect­ed to office. All these Kenyans will promise devel­op­ment, jobs, secu­ri­ty, and more. As they cam­paign, they will exalt their abil­i­ty to deliv­er what­ev­er they are promis­ing. Kenyans will either cheer or jeer them. We should how­ev­er not get car­ried away by pub­lic eupho­ria. No won­der that The Inde­pen­dent Elec­toral and Bound­aries Com­mis­sion (IEBC) has just termed ear­ly 2022 cam­paigns unde­sir­able and urged politi­cians to slow down.

Irre­spec­tive of who is in office, there are five things that we must demand from every elect­ed leader so that our coun­try can break free from the chains that are chock­ing our uni­ty and growth.

The first thing that elect­ed lead­ers must deal with deci­sive­ly is cor­rup­tion. Although I have dis­cussed cor­rup­tion numer­ous times in my pre­vi­ous columns, some occur­rences last week showed us how we can root out cor­rup­tion. When three con­vict­ed ter­ror­ists escaped from Kami­ti, the Pres­i­dent fired Wycliffe Ogal­lo, the Com­mis­sion­er-Gen­er­al of the Kenya Prison Ser­vice. There­after, offi­cers from the Anti-ter­ror­ism Police Unit (ATPU) speed­i­ly arrest­ed him, along­side the Kami­ti Max­i­mum Prison head Charles Mutem­bei and his deputy. Less than twen­ty-four hours lat­er, the three con­vict­ed ter­ror­ists were arrest­ed in Kitui and air­lift­ed back to Nairobi.

This inci­dent pro­vides a tem­plate that top elect­ed lead­ers must lead by exam­ple in deal­ing with mat­ters of cor­rup­tion. Just as the elec­torate will hold them account­able, they must also hold top lead­ers of gov­ern­ment and cor­po­rate insti­tu­tions account­able. In this Kami­ti saga, arrest­ing the top lead­ers will be more effec­tive than sack­ing a few low-lev­el prison war­dens. Lead­ers are the ones who are charged with full respon­si­bil­i­ty and must there­fore be held account­able for any fail­ures under their watch. This must be the new norm in every sin­gle gov­ern­ment institution. 

Sec­ond­ly, the elec­torate must demand the exter­mi­na­tion of the ram­pant cul­ture of impuni­ty for jus­tice and devel­op­ment to pre­vail. Impuni­ty fos­ters cor­rup­tion and there is a direct link between the rule of law and devel­op­ment. As report­ed, we lose one-third of our State Bud­get to cor­rup­tion every year. Con­sid­er­ing that the 2021 bud­get was worth Sh3 Tril­lion, it is pos­si­ble that dur­ing the cur­rent finan­cial year, cor­rup­tion will snatch away Sh1 Tril­lion. Why should we lose even one coin to cor­rup­tion when some of our loved chil­dren in rur­al areas are study­ing in ramshackle? 

Third­ly, we must sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly tack­le neg­a­tive eth­nic­i­ty. We must nev­er for­get how more than one mil­lion peo­ple died in the Rwan­dan geno­cide; how large­ly eth­ni­cal­ly fueled clash­es killed an esti­mat­ed 500,000 peo­ple in South Sudan; how Somalia’s long-run­ning Civ­il War that is part­ly clan-based, has killed thou­sands; how Kenya’s own 2008 post-elec­tion vio­lence left more than 1,300 Kenyans dead. These fig­ures remind us that neg­a­tive eth­nic­i­ty is always a bomb wait­ing to explode. Any leader whose words or actions fuel neg­a­tive eth­nic­i­ty must not be tol­er­at­ed by the mass­es and must be pros­e­cut­ed by the State. 

Fourth­ly, we must demon­strate civil­i­ty. The lack of social order in a soci­ety leads to total con­fu­sion while its pres­ence attracts tan­gi­ble sus­tain­able devel­op­ment.  The rule of law and civil­i­ty there­fore must pre­vail at all times. This applies to every Kenyan, not just politi­cians. When a pedes­tri­an ignores a foot­bridge and decides to sprint across the road, he is bla­tant­ly ignor­ing law and order. This can eas­i­ly result in loss of time, mon­ey, and life. Accord­ing to the 2020 ease of doing busi­ness rank­ing, only two sub-Saha­ran African coun­tries made it to the top 50. This proves that law and order have a direct cor­re­la­tion to investment. 

Final­ly, I sug­gest that we entrench the spir­it of Ubun­tu into our nation­al oper­a­tions and sys­tems. Ubun­tu is an African phi­los­o­phy that dic­tates that ‘I am because we are.’ We are one nation, one peo­ple, and must take care of one anoth­er, not pull each oth­er down. This is the met­ric that we must use to mea­sure not just our lead­ers, but also our­selves. Think green, act green. 

About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

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