A PASSION FOR POWER OR EXCELLENCE?

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In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing.
Ephesians 2:10

Happy New Year everyone. Hooray! It’s 2017, and our God of mercy has brought us this far. We start the year with great expectations both as individuals and together as Kenyans.

This is an election year and, as always, violence and disruptions of our normal activities loom large as politicians go round the country seeking votes, and in the process inciting Wananchi.

If what we witnessed at the close of last year is anything to go by, we should be prepared for worse things in the coming months before elections in August. Not even a national day like Jamhuri Day was sacred enough to tame some politicians and their supporters. We saw chairs and stones being thrown around and tear gas canisters flying in some counties like Meru and Mombasa.

We start the New Year with campaigns in top gear. There is so much at stake that no politician is taking it lying down. Some have been quoted saying, “It’s a matter of life and death.”

The President and his brigade are all over the country dishing out goodies and making promises; the opposition, not to be outdone, is doing the same. It would be okay if they were out seeking votes from Kenyans without hurling insults at each other and maligning one another.

The push for power has come to shove. And most of us are either pushing or being pushed. Just like in the last elections and the two before, it is the same politicians doing the pushing and majority of us are the same voters.

The faces of Kenyan politicians don’t change much. Same old faces, some of whom talk and behave like they are the only leaders predestined by God, and vow to rule by hook or crook – mpende, msipende.

They have already declared themselves winners and even predicted who will come thereafter. According to Jubilee, Uhuru will win the next election and deputy president Ruto will take over for the next 10 years from 2022! Yes. And CORD has already declared victory for 2017!

Politicians’ ambition and their words just amaze me. Do they really believe there is a God who decides our future? Don’t they know that the future is not in our hands? Do they acknowledge they are in the positions they hold because God planned it for them? Are they performing according to His will and serving Kenyans with humility? Perhaps they need to reflect on the verse from Ephesian 2:10 and acknowledge that leadership is God- planned and comes with responsibilities.

There are two kinds of leaders – those who have a passion for excellence and those who have a passion for power. The desire for excellence is a gift from God and it is much needed in our society. It is characterised by respect for honesty and a yearning to use God’s gifts in a way that pleases Him and benefits mankind.

We have few role models in the current crop of politicians and civil servants – dedicated people who view their positions as God ordained and serve with humility; a people who are not out to enrich themselves and their kin; a people doing good and making a difference to society. These are leaders who desire excellence and practice it. Can the Matiang’is in our midst stand up and be counted!

The majority of our leaders, particularly politicians, fall in the category of those who have a passion for power; an insatiable passion. Hear them speak on those podiums! Listen to the words that come from their mouths -vain words of self-glorification. Many of our leaders live to glorify themselves and not serve the people.

If they didn’t, we wouldn’t be having millions of Kenyans living below the poverty line 53 years after independence.

There is a huge difference between doing your best in whatever you do to glorify God and doing what it takes to glorify yourself. The quest for excellence is a mark of maturity and respect for the positions given to us.

The quest for raw power is selfish. It is driven by personal motives such as enriching oneself and not for uplifting others in society.

You and I can help change the equation come August by voting in leaders whose quest for leadership is excellence and not power. You have the next eight months to seriously consider the kind of person who will give you the service you deserve and with respect.

The kind of leader who will acknowledge he is a servant of the people. It is time for you to put to test the candidates presenting themselves and ask what their motives are. If it’s purely for power, reject them.

If they come around each election year in their choppers and four-wheel drives and promise you heaven on earth and once you vote them in they disappear, hold them to account and reject them.

You have a vote; use it wisely. Make this year one of change. Let us say no to empty promises and politics of hate and division and only vote in leaders who pledge to bring peace, unity and prosperity to our beloved country.

Published January 2017

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