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Look beyond degrees to provide Kenyans leadership

By The Standard | Updated Tue, December 6th 2016 at 00:00 GMT +3

NAIROBI: In the quest to raise the calibre of leadership in Kenya, there have been proposals to set the academic bar higher. The premise is that a highly educated person has the ability to think issues through and can, where necessary, exercise restraint.

Too often in the past, we saw, and especially among the cadre of leaders who were referred to as councillors; now Members of County Assembly, fisticuffs when articulating issues coherently became too much of a handicap.

A few swollen faces, broken chairs and missing teeth seemed to resolve matters. It was against this backdrop that it was deemed necessary to elect more educated and restrained people in positions of leadership, hence the requirement of a cut-off point for different levels of leadership.

A proposal that Members of Parliament must possess a university degree has been shelved until the 2022 General Election, giving respite to those who wished to run in 2017 but did not have degrees. They can breathe easy and lay their plans for 2017 as they study in anticipation of 2022.

But while the degrees requirement means well for the country, isn’t it obvious that even to many current degree holders in Parliament, leaderships still comes as a challenge? People should be encouraged to advance their education, but pegging leadership ability on degrees misses the point.


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