Maraga: Leaders must be authentic for Kenya’s social, economic growth

By James Wakahiu

Former Chief Justice David Maraga has asked national leaders and managers to be authentic leaders for the country to grow socially and economically

In particular, he said, men should start by being authentic leaders in their families and start early to mentor their children to be the same. “Mothers and children have been complaining that we have become absentee fathers and husbands. We need to change and start inspiring children from a young age,” he said.

The former Chief Justice decried the rising cases of alcohol abuse among families and in the community by the youth, which he blamed on poor leadership within families in the society and in the country.

He was speaking during the launch of a book titled, ‘101 Authentic Leadership Lessons,”   by Dr Jackline Mosinya Nyaberi, at the Pan African hotel in Nairobi earlier this week.  The author is a lecturer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology’s School of Public Health.

A fellow of the inaugural Kofi Annan Global Health Leader, Africa CDC, and the researcher is a World Health Organisation (WHO) Consultant on health and migration is, CEO of Capstone Leadership and Development as well as the Ayanna Health Foundation.

“This book stands out as one of the recent publications with an authentic value system. Leaders must aspire to inspire. Authentic leadership is about honesty and Kenyan political leaders must first become honest,” said the Chief Justice Emeritus.

Mount Kenya University (MKU) Pro-Chancellor, Dr Vincent Gaitho, who has endorsed the book, praised Dr Nyaberi for writing a book that is a challenge to political leaders and the Kenyan society which is riddled with corruption.

“The author is a former colleague at MKU and she has even written about her humble beginnings in the Kisii community in Western Kenya. If her story disappointed her, we would not be here today. To quote World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, no human is limited. And as Lupita Nyong’o once said, your dreams are valid,” said Dr Gaitho.

The varsity don criticized leaders in Africa for not focusing on challenges the continent is facing such as food insecurity. “Why is Africa unable to feed itself? Our leader’s actions are a contradiction.  Leadership is not about power and wealth. It is about influencing and making another person achieve. What this book is asking us is, what’s burning you in relation to services to the community?”  he said.

Professor Florence Memba, the Dean, School of Business and Entrepreneurship at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), told leaders to stop pretending but to learn to know and acknowledge their own limits. “Our leaders need to do a SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of themselves. Authentic leadership has been here since the days of Greek civilization; now Dr Nyaberi has brought it here to Kenya,” she added.

Dr Anne Mwasi, CEO and board secretary, Nyamira County government, termed the book launch a celebration. “Leadership is a calling for servanthood. What we need is a transformation about how managers in the public sector work. There is need to nurture those below you and mentor, actually to become a mother, to young leaders,” she said.

Mwasi told civil servants to embrace virtues and codes of conduct in their work places. “County government offices are politically charged environments, different from work in the private sector.  Managers need to take senior leadership courses and to grow professionally,” she added.

Saying that she was a friend of the author, Mwasi said she had not only read the new book but was already taking lessons which she would implement.

According to Dr Nyamberi, her book targets inspirational leaders, serving leaders and the young generation to form a battalion of authentic leadership in decision at personal level as well as decision making in management. “As the author, I strongly belief that Authentic Leadership is the only hidden gem for changing the scenario in Africa for Africans with regard to leadership,” she said.

“We are increasingly interested in aspiring leaders, the young generation and other generations to come. Authenticity is all Kenya and Africa needs. We look forward to having a battalion of authentic leaders.  If I died without authoring the 101 Authentic Leadership Lessons, I would be the most selfish person on earth” added Dr Nyaberi. The book can be ordered using social media, or at Nuria in Nairobi.


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Education News - Newspaper Vol 281