The iconic father of African literature, the late Chinua Achebe postulated a proverb in his book, things fall apart, which was drawn from the wisdom of igbo fiefdom of southern Nigeria that “the lizard that jumped from high iroko tree to the ground said he would praise himself if no one else did”. The literary application of this proverb manifested itself recently in Isiolo County during President Uhuru’s visit to inaugurate Pastoralists Summit, the ordinary folks sent a strong message to the current wobbling and lame duck ruling regime of Isiolo County. The president’s body language, road show biz, Doyo’s lack of understanding of high profile visit and behind the scenes happenings at Simba Lodge was clear to all and sundry that Hon. Abdul Bahari is the blue-eyed boy of the President and the indisputable choice of the people of Isiolo County. This was clearly showcased when a mammoth crowd of people along the street jeered and booed Doyo. However, when they spotted Hon. Bahari waving to them in presidential style the jubilant crowd ruptured into electric mood as they acknowledge his presence with unmeasured delight. The maxim whispers among the residents of Isiolo is; no more gambling , no more experiment in choosing political leadership again.
That incidental occurence has been informed by the leadership of misery and impunity starring one Gabriel Kullu’s deficiencies ranging from mega corruption, crippled devolved governance, abuse of office, blatant nepotism, weak human resource policy guidelines, gross misconduct to neglect of the electorates in all the fundamental tenets of social-economic empowerment of the society.
They say, If people’s resolutions are about self-improvement then those in the political circles should surely be making longer lists than most, and somewhere on those lists, below rekindling the spluttering flame of the economy, should be embracing the common mantra. Like a sculptor’s chisel or a fisherman’s net, charismatic leadership is the statesman’s essential tool, yet current Isiolo leaders are content to spew out dry management-speak that has become the stale norm.
More often than not a focused leadership need to indulge in rich cadences that captures the hopes, fears and aspirations of the people of Isiolo County. And the person who fits that bill squarely is none other than Hon. Abdul Bari Ali. In times of crisis, should a leader be more timid in their approach or more bold? Replace the word dearth with “leadership” and you have the answer. Crises require leadership, leadership requires people-centered consultation, which the current inefficient leadership in Isiolo County languishes in it to the very deep end.
Consider the deep, textured prose of Gladstone, the fiery energy of Lloyd George or the imagery of Martin Luther King, whose “I Have a Dream” speech was poetry plain and simple. Those at the helm of political leadership must lift people’s sights to greater things.
There’s a lot you have to learn to live with if one is going to hold elected office and live a public life in Kenya today. Privacy, for example, is difficult to maintain, for you and your family.
Criticism, when you receive it and you can count on receiving it, from political adversaries, if not from the man on the street or from the media is sometimes searing, frequently personal and almost always public. The media ; newspapers, television, radio and shadowy pedestrian analyzing their words and deeds, scrutinizing their intentions, second-guessing their decisions and questioning their intelligence, not to mention their integrity. In this regard, we have been subjected to theatre of absurd and unsolicited drama by Doyo and his apparatchik’s for three consecutive years instead of providing basic services and proper governance to the hoi polloi’s and down trodden populace of Isiolo County.
It’s hard to imagine a career other than professional athletics or entertainment where one’s job performance is as visible, as studied and as magnified as a politician’s. Like an athlete and an entertainer, an elected official today must face questions not only about how he is doing his job but how he is living his life and how he has lived his life and in this case Hon. Abdul Bahari Ali has been tried, tested and trusted in both public and private arena. Besides being expected to account for almost any aspect of his present existence, he may well be asked to explain things he did years or even decades ago, long before he entered public life and without any benefit of doubt, he can respond to it devoid of any hesitation. Unlike an athlete and an entertainer, whose wayward behavior past or present can often embellish a career, a politician’s words and deeds are typically held to the highest of standards, and he is, in the most acutely direct sense, answerable for those actions; answerable to the public. They are the people who hired him. They are the people who can fire him. And they are also the people to whom he must constantly turn to for not only approval but also outright rejection owing to the fact that Hon. Bahari had an enviable wealth of experience on matters pertaining to community and people-servant leadership who shall always be accountable to the people who gave him that mandate.
A politician will also have to endure the disdain of those who consider this profession little more than bartering political favours for money and votes. You may well be sullied by the fight for election, drawn into the kind of negative campaigning and mudslinging that leaves both winners and losers dirtied and degraded in the public eye. Upon entering office, one will step into yet another arena that will turn uglier than ever before, this is normally infected with the partisan infighting of leadership that are polarized today to a degree unequaled in our County’s (Isiolo) recent history. However, Hon. Abdul Bahari is a politician cum-technorat who can restore the much required sanity devoid of any bravado and brouhaha.
Public confidence did not plummet overnight. It did begin with Doyo’s Administration of impunity and misery that choked the innocent peasants of Isiolo. Current politicians and Isiolo County government have not endured suspicion and a certain degree of scorn since the birth of this County in the second Republic. This skepticism on the part of the Isiolo residents is a grand tradition, as deeply rooted in our society as the spirit of freedom and independence and limited government.
What is new, however, is the degree to which that suspicion and scorn have grown in the past three and half years. Within the three years, the people of Isiolo County have seen an unprecedented parade of betrayals of the public trust, from the deception that lay behind the absentee leader (Doyo), to the shock of the shadowy and unprocedural tenderpreneurs currently on the prowl in Isiolo County.
That’s an awful beating for a political system to take over the course of just one generation. And it has brought us to a low point in the Isiolo people’s relationship with their government.
They are experiencing a real crisis of confidence not just in their leaders but in the value of public life in our democracy, which troubles us deeply because we have lived that life for those same past three years and I think we deserve better. We have experienced its challenges and felt its pitfalls and pressures. We have felt the viciousness of partisanship infect the process of politics to the point where reasonable collaboration becomes almost impossible. We have watched supposedly good personalities become corrupted, their judgment clouded by zealotry and ideological obligation, by ego and ambition, by the dark side of power and prestige, or simply and sadly by desires that become needs to fleece devolved tax payers funds from the exchequer to the revenues collected locally.
The resilient people of Isiolo have watched these things every day on the pages of hundreds of newspapers and magazines, they read ringside accounts of the latest political conundrum, corruption and unbridled greed on the part of the current leeches and mandarins managing the affairs of Isiolo County.
With such a wealth of access and input, it’s easy to feel that we’ve got more than enough information about the ugly events that unfolds in our treasured County and those who are living it to make conclusive judgments about the quality, the value and even the future of that life messy and unbearable. This is not only unfortunate but one sad.
Just like the Iroko tree that shall remain strong and sturdy in a binding way and by making a realistic promise. Hon. Abdul Bahari Ali is a darling of the people and bestrode the entire county like the colossus. He shall definitely put his intention into words, makes them true on some level and thus binds himself to the service of impoverished people of Isiolo county unlike the besieged Doyo who like the lizard depends on the fall from high iroko tree survives with the bruises of inept governance and comedy of errors every other day.