Leadership, National Cohesion

Why Squabbles in Government Are a Worrying Sign of A “Scarcity Mentality”

In recent times, Kenya has wit­nessed a series of unset­tling dis­putes with­in gov­ern­ment cir­cles, marked by infight­ing and insub­or­di­na­tion. Notable inci­dents include the clash between Alice Wahome and her Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, the per­ceived cold war between Inte­ri­or Ser­vices CS Prof. Kindi­ki and Immi­gra­tion PS Prof. Julius Bitok, and the obvi­ous fric­tion involv­ing our Deputy Pres­i­dent and Kiharu MP Hon. Ndin­di Nyoro. These con­flicts, involv­ing hon­or­able offi­cials who I hold in very high esteem high­light a deep­er issue with­in our leadership.

Such unnec­es­sary wran­gles today remind me vivid­ly of endur­ing lessons from my late father, Bish­op Kalua—a mod­el of wis­dom and an excep­tion­al peace­mak­er whose pro­found impact was known to few. His lega­cy, guid­ed by his belief in the inher­ent good in us all, is one I strive to per­pet­u­ate. He once told me, “Every per­son has four sides: the front, the back, the left, and the right. No mat­ter the flaws, there’s always one side that shines bright­ly. Focus on that bril­liance, embrace it, and nev­er despise any­one for their shortcomings.”

I am thank­ful that this wis­dom has pro­found­ly shaped my inter­ac­tions, teach­ing me to rec­og­nize and cel­e­brate the strengths in myself and oth­ers. By iden­ti­fy­ing what we excel at and acknowl­edg­ing the same in those around us, we cul­ti­vate a com­mu­ni­ty of mutu­al appre­ci­a­tion and respect.

Many of us unknow­ing­ly suc­cumb to the sub­tle yet per­va­sive grip of scarci­ty mentality—a mind­set that views resources and oppor­tu­ni­ties as lim­it­ed, fos­ter­ing inse­cu­ri­ty, neg­a­tive com­pet­i­tive­ness, and a ten­den­cy to hoard rather than share. But what has scarci­ty men­tal­i­ty got to do with the unfold­ing sit­u­a­tion in the government?

It man­i­fests through intense com­pe­ti­tion for author­i­ty and con­trol, over­shad­ow­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive efforts for nation­al progress. There is a fear that shar­ing pow­er or infor­ma­tion might lead to one’s own dimin­ish­ment, result­ing in a reluc­tance to dis­trib­ute resources equi­tably. More­over, this men­tal­i­ty breeds per­va­sive anx­i­ety about los­ing sta­tus or posi­tion, lead­ing to defen­sive behav­iors and resis­tance to trans­par­ent governance.

The anti­dote to these chal­lenges lies in embrac­ing a ‘Green Mentality’—a mind­set of abun­dance where we focus on col­lec­tive strength and shared suc­cess. This men­tal­i­ty encour­ages dis­ci­pline, adher­ence to a shared vision for the com­mon good, and team­work with col­lec­tive respon­si­bil­i­ty. Rec­og­niz­ing that ‘Serikali ni kub­wa’ (The gov­ern­ment is huge) and has ample oppor­tu­ni­ties for all to con­tribute effec­tive­ly, we must ensure every team mem­ber’s efforts are syn­chro­nized with the government’s ulti­mate plan.

As we nav­i­gate these tur­bu­lent times, it’s imper­a­tive that we replace a scarci­ty men­tal­i­ty with a green men­tal­i­ty, fos­ter­ing an envi­ron­ment where col­lab­o­ra­tion and mutu­al respect are para­mount. The Pres­i­dent must unapolo­get­i­cal­ly crack the whip to ensure his team is unit­ed and work­ing cohe­sive­ly towards a com­mon objec­tive. Any­one under­min­ing a col­league also under­mines the leader who appoint­ed them and dis­re­spects the big plan.

Kenyans are cur­rent­ly grap­pling with the hard­ships of floods, eco­nom­ic strug­gles, and doc­tors’ strikes. In such chal­leng­ing times, the ongo­ing, ugly dis­putes among gov­ern­ment offi­cials only add insult to injury, hin­der­ing nation­al efforts that aim for improve­ment. The wis­dom of my late father teach­es us that focus­ing on the pos­i­tive aspects of each indi­vid­ual can trans­form our inter­ac­tions and fos­ter a thriv­ing, unit­ed com­mu­ni­ty. It is essen­tial for all gov­ern­ment offi­cials to unite and col­lab­o­rate effec­tive­ly, rec­og­niz­ing and valu­ing each oth­er’s strengths to avoid pub­lic dis­putes and work towards shared goals.

Sev­er­al years ago, Gallup, the US Multi­na­tion­al ana­lyt­ics com­pa­ny con­duct­ed an exten­sive analy­sis of work-relat­ed data. This analy­sis revealed that that strong engage­ment, which includes a deep con­nec­tion with one’s job and cowork­ers, feel­ing val­ued as a sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tor, and hav­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for con­tin­u­ous learn­ing, con­sis­tent­ly brings about favor­able results for indi­vid­u­als and the orga­ni­za­tions they are part of. The same applies to our gov­ern­ment. Our leg­is­la­tors and cab­i­net sec­re­taries must recon­nect with the high­er pur­pose of their jobs and embrace strong engage­ment in order to tru­ly steer Kenya for­ward. 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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