Not all politicians are cut from the fabric of leaders

Politicians like to operate in chaotic jungles where they can take advantage of the chaos to advance their personal interests. [iStockphoto]

Whenever you bring up the issue of academic qualifications for political office holders in Kenya, or Chapter Six of the Constitution; or any other qualifications other than a national identity card, politicians and political aspirants, activists and enthusiasts come out, guns blazing.

Anyone can be a political office holder if given the right tools and environment, but not everyone can be a leader. Leaders operate with a code and like standardised environments. Politicians like to operate in chaotic jungles where they can take advantage of the chaos to advance their personal interests.

Leadership involves a vision and a conviction to solve societal problems for the benefit of the people by building value within the existing structures while innovatively generating new ways of building more value for the people.

The Constitution has an obligation of ensuring we have the right minds and bodies for the constitutional offices it creates and thus a bar must be set to ensure we are led by firsts amongst equals who have the ability to purposefully and indiscriminately unite us and create opportunities for our collective prosperity, not just anyone nationality designated as Kenyan in their ID. Why do we put qualifications for all other constitutional office holders but want to joke around with the direct political ones that are the most critical and powerful in any functional democracy?

How does a primary school dropout in the name of MCA or MP oversight a PS, CS or parastatal CEO who is a FCPA, doctoral economist, former "Fortune 100 company CEO", a civil/structural Engineer with an additional Masters in project management, or a professor of law? Why do we like taking our jokes too far? Why must politicians make it look like everyone must occupy political office for them to be impactful or considered leaders in the society?

Leadership is a 'safe driving spirit' that is harboured and nurtured in people, a spirit that powers their 'progressive rage' towards the harmonious, collaborative and all targeting growth and development of their jurisdictive spaces for the greater good of the people or the organisation.

In leadership, the greater good of those being led or the organisation supersedes the personal interests of the leaders. Politics on the other hand is a no-holds-barred life and death career that can be 'bought' or scammed into; and practiced by anyone who has the resources to mobilise and organise people into following him.

Leaders are qualified naturally and/or perfected by their passion, interests, education, trainings and experience that are geared towards giving solutions through continuous and genuine engagement for improvement.

Political office holders are qualified by the Constitution that creates their offices and roles and should therefore not be qualified by nature or God, but by the provisions of the same constitution and laws that created those positions and roles.

The roles are deemed to require a certain level of intellectual upgrade and training that might expose them to knowledge and opportunities that uplift their ability to relate, understand, collaborate and function in this dynamic and constantly changing world.

-Mr Odweyo is a political economist. [email protected]