Teachers’ Strike: A Leadership Test, Part II

by on Oct.01, 2015, under Leadership



Leadership Test Part II

5. The Opposition – 20%
There was a joke that went around during Kibaki’s time that Redykulass comedy could not sell with Kibaki as the President, reason being that Kibaki was too fun, one could just watch Kibaki instead of watching Redykulass. Given the opposition we have today, Redykulass could not sell but for very different reasons from Kibaki’s. Kenyan opposition has no vision and it does not pretend about it. Vision is the beginning of leadership, being dissatisfied by something, having a strong desire to see that things change for better. You do not have to an office to be a leader, that is why I write/blog because I want to see Kenya become better. I don’t know what the opposition in Kenyan want to improve and what it is doing about it. It was an insult to imagine a donation to the teachers of our nation as the grand proposal by the opposition’s think tank. Kenyans of all walks wanted to hear the opposition’s constructive contribution on the teachers’ pay debate but they got none. The motion to re-look into State Officers pay by Ababu is facing opposition from the opposition itself. Why stifle debate, let us determine the merit and demerit on the floor of the parliament.

The leader of the opposition has been lecturing the government to respect the constitution, to obey the court etc, yet when called upon by the DDP (a constitutional office) to record a statement regarding ICC witness he responded with insult that he shall not ‘indulge the idle curiosity of investigative agencies’. We have not forgotten that the same people awhile back referred our courts established by the constitution as ‘Kangaroo courts’. It is a dangerous position that our political class has taken, they choose what part of the constitution to obey and when they want to obey it. The pick of arrogance was demonstrated at a rally where fathers and mothers abused the president and his team. The way opposition handled the teachers’ strike was symbolised by the students’ uniform they wore at the public rally on the 24th at Uhuru Park, they are the masters of style without substance. It came out that the main policies of the opposition is to abuse other leaders and make ridiculous proposals for solving the nation’s challenges, for that they earn 20%.

6. The Church – 40%
At least for the first time in a long time, the church offered to mediate between the teachers and the government. That was a good start for the ‘huge movement’ for good that has been on a self-imposed sabbatical. The church is performing below its mandate and potential. The church has access to believers for at least 2 hours every week, apart from moulding them into good givers, the church can shape them into law bidding and loving citizens. For giving ‘too little too late’ the church scores 40%.

7. The Government – 60%
Leaders have to think beyond the general election, they have to think about posterity. Leaders are alive to history as well as poll ratings. Leadership is not only in granting the people their will, it also consists in denying them their will if that is best for the nation in the long term. The president was clear that the nation’s wage bill is unsustainable; increasing the wage bill will ruin the economy of our nation. Many scholars are with the president on this one. Paying the teachers is the easiest thing that the president can do after all the money is not coming from his pocket. This is cheap politics, which never builds a nation. The president has a wider mandate than paying the teachers, he has to manage the entire government expenditure, he has to ensure that labour costs in Kenya are not prohibitive to investors, he has to ensure that the citizen are not over-taxed and ensure development projects are implemented without fail.

The government should stop being reactive to national matters, the government should talk to teachers all the time not just when we have a strike. The government may have plans to ensure that candidates seat for their exams but that is not enough, leadership demand constant communication to the followers. The government also owes the nation an explanation why it ordered closure of private schools. For demonstrating some leadership on managing the wage bill and standing for the right thing amidst pressure from the unions and politicians the government scores 60%

8. The Private Schools – 70%
The move by the private schools to question and refuse to be intimidated by the government on closing all schools without proper explanation and justification is admirable. Leadership is about speaking the truth to power. The truth must only be spoken in humility if it has to achieve the intended effect. Private schools teachers were not on strike, why were schools being closed? The government is yet to respond to that valid question. The private schools demonstrated leadership in humility hence they scored 70%.

Leadership is still a foreign concept to many leaders in our nation. We need to demand for leadership from those who call themselves leaders.

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