When the newly appointed Central Bank of Kenya governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge opted to maintain his simple lifestyle, typically many were challenged. In a country where people have a big appetite for opulent lifestyles -and are sought by all means- it can be assumed that the governor is God sent.
Dr. Njoroge has defied a culture of degenerate entrenched in our leadership corridors. One that is synonymous with a depiction made by a renowned Nigerian author Chinua Achebe when in one of his satirical novel, he acknowledges a public view that; you don’t expect a sensible man to spit out a juicy morsel that good fortune has put in his mouth.
In stamping their presence, politicians and senior public officers moving around on our roads, have the tendency of causing mayhem and drama like a swum of bees looking for a new settlement. Sirens, and traffic jams have become a characteristic of the mindless elites in our society. An individual can be escorted by a dramatic fleet of cars while going for their daily routine jobs in the name of security. For the new governor to reject an offer to be a neighbour to the former president Kibaki and the other several diplomats in the neighbourhood is a near extinct phenomenon in the country.
A rare scenario it is, when a leader puts aside his ego and concentrates on service delivery, the general public confidence will definitely be boosted apart from one’s academic qualifications, especially in an area that traditionally is associated with attracting huge corrupt deals. There is need for technocrats and political leaders to emulate this selflessness shown by Dr. Njoroge in an attempt to execute his new job for the betterment of the Kenyan people. Even though the results of the new governor’s work are yet to be felt, one gets the feeling of comfort with regards to his integrity.
It is common in Africa to see the ruling class living and maintaining expensive and extravagant lifestyles. Majority of them are as a result of accrued corruption. It is, however, disheartening how those who belong to this privileged class are the most celebrated in the society despite looting the treasury lame.
Worldwide there are a couple of CEOs and entrepreneurs who despite their income or net worth have continued to live in relatively simple and modest lives. David Cheriton a Stanford professor who is worth billions of dollars once told the Edmonton Journal in a 2006 interview that, “ These people who build houses with 13 bathrooms and so on, there’s something wrong with them.” The likes of Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO), Tim Cook (Apple CEO) among many others, have maintained their simple lifestyles despite holding key positions and their access to massive wealth.
Character does matter in the public service, and especially when it comes to monetary policies, the aversion to opulence shown by the governor has brightened the nation’s imagination.