By PETER KAMURI
President Mwai Kibaki has given non-degree holders interested in vying for parliamentary, senate and governor seats a lifeline by rejecting the amendments wickedly passed last week by MPs.
If the MPs had had their way, the move would have locked out hundreds of aspirants from contesting in the forthcoming election.
But what informed the MPs push to have non-degree holders locked from contesting in the forthcoming elections? Does lack of university qualifications make one a worse leader or less successful in life?
This is the question most Kenyans have been asking the past one-week. Although some believe that one has to be highly qualified to be an effective leader, others think leadership&searchbutton=SEARCH'> leadership is more of personal traits than academic qualifications.
There are numerous successful leaders, living or dead, who have left an impact although they had humble educational backgrounds. The current president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, is said to have had no formal education, some saying he has never set foot into a school. The 17th American president Andrew Johnson had a progressively successful career, yet he was illiterate.
In Brazil, Lula da Silva is regarded as one of the best presidents who ever ruled that country. However, he could not read until he was about ten years old. And even then, he only went to school for two years.
Back home, people like Kariuki Chotara, Mulu Mutysia, Njenga Karume and Kihika Kimani are respected for the impact they made into the lives of hundreds of people, despite being academic dwarfs.
Even in the business world, some people have made it big by establishing renowned brands yet they had humble education backgrounds.
Richard Branson, the owner of the Virgin brand and its more than three hundred associated companies, only has a modest education. He dropped out at the age of sixteen and started his first successful business venture.
Bill Gates, who ranked as the world’s richest person some years back, was a college drop out. This did not stop him from establishing the largest computer software company, Microsoft Corporation.