By Joseph Waliaula
COVID-19 has presented a great challenge to leaders in Kenya and world over.
Zeroing into Kenya, we see true leadership in moments of crisis.
Emergencies like this call for leadership to step into the unknown with well informed choices since little is known about the corona virus pandemic.
Questions to the people put in positions of influence would be what have they done in regard to leadership both theoretically and practically.
Routine politics of harambees, politicking in matanga’s and the hand out businesses popularly known as “kumina” in the Bukusu nation will seem very irrelevant at this point in time.
The ability of a leader to conduct societal mobilization, by aggregation of all resources available to fight a common enemy in this case Corona virus, is what will enable such a leader to swim in this murky waters.
The sense of collective responsiveness and the ability of a leader to empathize and create a common understanding of the threat we face will define good leadership.
Leadership infrastructure, that is split into two;
Hardware that involves institutional things we see on a daily basis Policy making, oversight and other administrative duties.
Software; which is the existing level of trust, whether as a society we feel that our leaders have convinced us that we are in this together.
Many leaders have been getting away with this and that is what is being tested by the challenge we are facing.
That whether people perceive what our leaders are saying is true.
Social and social economical immunization of the society to believe that whatever they are facing is equally the same as what the leaders are facing.
The fall out of loss of earnings from small business operators to loss of learning in the case of students.
Willingness to take action collectively will play a key role in shaping leadership.
A new script of leadership is being written and that is why we see the nurses, reporters and the police service. Men and women on the frontline working for the people receiving accolades from all over.
For purposes of not sounding biased I will add Governor Ali Hassan Joho on that list on behalf of every politician who has rose up to the occasion to convince the whole country that he has the best interest of his people at heart. His ability to solidify trust between those governing and those being governed is commendable in all fronts.
Lastly, the greatest undoing of any leader during this time would be the failure in imagination and the inability of the leader to inspire the people that they have mutually held goals.
Temporal political processes that happen during campaigns will not have any binding mutuality during this time. Fact being, a citizen will say “I don’t feed at your house neither do you dine at mine’s”
This disease is a leveler and the sooner a leader steps up to know that times have changed the better.
It will be remembered that the usual approach to politics is going to change.
Elites will be reorganized by the unfolding of events and new leaders will emerge.
Whoever rises up to the occasion to respond effectively during this time, definitely will be the leaders of the future and the future is here with us.
Situations make leaders.
Joseph Waliaula is a Journalist and a graduant in leadership administration planning and management field.