Perhaps not a very wise thing to do but I can now confess: When at his second inauguration, President Kenyatta announced the Big Four as the key focus of his second term in office, my heart sank. For sure, though there were many who immediately joined in congratulating the President for a great vision, in my heart joy escaped and excitement became difficult to conjure up. This was not because I at any moment considered the four issues non-strategic or unimportant – far from it! I was and still am in perfect agreement with each of the four items as critical for the strategic regional and global positioning of our nation. However, it requires no rocket science to appreciate that no matter what lofty dreams we may possess; no matter how disciplined and committed we may be; and irrespective of the passion with which we may pursue our national agenda, we are headed nowhere unless the moral foundation of our dream is solid.
Ours is a nation where almost every new idea, new laws, or new projects readily become new avenues for looting. It is the sole reason our nation has been tottering on the brink of collapse. It was therefore difficult to genuinely celebrate the Big Four agenda as a strategy for national development without an accompanying strategy for fighting the twin ills of corruption and negative ethnicity. It was clear that unless something drastic happened to alter our national culture, the Big Four were only going to open another big four avenues for mega corruption.
But, Kudos to Mr President! The unimaginable has been and is actually happening. The move to attack corruption at its roots – even touching the untouchables – has totally altered the national landscape and rekindled the hopes of many. It has especially buttressed the President’s public declaration that none in the notional pecking order is beyond the call to accountability. It is only comparable to the 2003 radical actions by Narc when the government appeared determined to recapture the nation and restore its former glory. Unfortunately, the efforts then were short-lived. The agenda was scuttled by political disagreements and lacklustre commitment by some senior government leaders.
Mockery of the gains
Thankfully this time around, the President’s team appears committed not to fail him or the nation. Indeed, a second round of failure (after the 2003) would not only entrench evil behaviour into our national culture but would make a total mockery of all the gains made thus far.
It is a fact that one of the greatest – and perhaps the most difficult – task of leadership is the transformation of culture. Culture is simply the collective way of doing things, whether good or bad. Like habits, culture is a set of behaviours that require little or no effort. Culture is the default mode for a team, an organisation, community, or society. To reverse this mindset often requires a radical change in behaviour and a fundamental shift in attitudes and worldviews. Like bad habits that die hard, bad culture is stubborn. Thus, for national transformation to succeed, there must be a sustained and hardnosed commitment not only from the top leadership, but equally from every one of us who cares about this nation. A little let up and we all go back to our old wicked ways, and with greater difficulty for any future transformation.
One of the greatest enemies to cultural transformation is disunity – social discord and divergence in purpose. That is why it is imperative that the current fight against graft be carried through the long haul, until the drag of inertia is overcome. This means that we must not just lay new foundations and structures for our national life but must also cultivate new habits for our national conduct of business. Such a shift will require that we distinguish between our political, ethnic, and religious affiliations, and our sacred call to national duty.
We cannot therefore hide behind any such groupings to either escape or prevent accountability. The burden of corruption or abuse of power must be left to individuals to carry in their culpability. Similarly, to ethnicise or politicise this transformation – no matter how noble the intentions – as already appears to be happening, can only be considered an act of sabotage. That is why we must all rally behind the new impetus for national transformation and play our smallest part in re-awakening our dulled consciences. It is the best we can offer our nation, and our only hope for realising and reaping from the Big Four.
- The writer is the Presiding Bishop of Christ is the Answer Ministries. [email protected]