Leaders must recognise social groups :: Kenya

Some time back, Dr David Ndii stirred the hornet’s nest by calling on Kenyan nation-tribes to head for the divorce court and end what in his view was an abusive relationship. Dr Ndii’s argument was that, considering how we appear to hate one another, it is perhaps time we went our separate ways and created tribal nations, each with a tribal king. The reactions to this proposal were as varied as the people who chose to so do. Yet, Dr Ndii simply sounded a warning — a warning that all is not well in our family house called Kenya.

Indeed, like a family fighting at meal times, our domestic fights get especially vicious every election season. Though we try our best to pretend that we are a peace-loving people, the noise emanating from our closed doors, troubles even the furthest neighbours. And, from previous experience, we are capable of burning down the house, with all of us in it. What actually ails us?

Broadly, at the core of our fights is the sharing of the national cake. In this, our politicians have made us believe that the cake, and sometimes the ugali, is often shared out in the kitchen and, unless and until one of our own is in the kitchen — preferably as the chief chef — we will never get our rightful share. Sadly, in spite of clear constitutional provisions to ensure fair and equitable distribution of resources, unfairness has been consistently perpetuated. From the county to national levels, the political class has mastered the art of inequity in managing resources under their charge.

In the distribution of political positions, jobs, and other national and county resources; nepotism, clannism, and tribalism have been adopted as the norm by political leaders from across the divide. Review the just-concluded party nominations; check out the EALA list; then go deeper into the county and national government appointments. The unfortunate abuse of privilege is inadvertently lent credence. The question is: why do leaders so readily fall into this trap? My proposition: an acute lack of intelligence — cultural intelligence.

Cultural intelligence, also known as cultural quotient (CQ), refers to an individual’s ability to relate and work across cultures and diversity. A culturally intelligent person, while acknowledging the cultural differences that must exist among human beings, nonetheless appreciates the inherent worth of every culture. High CQs will go out of their way to embrace, incorporate, and support people of every culture.

Consequently, when a person — and especially a leader — considers that he or she can only work with or reward people from his or her family, clan, tribe, or race, then they have proved that they are seriously unintelligent, no matter how learned. Their foolishness is revealed through such wicked ways as denying others resources and opportunities simply because they are “not our people,” while rewarding family and community cronies.

Though CQ levels can be scientifically measured, a quick test is to check out the social extraction of the people around you — your staff, colleagues, friends, business partners, etc. If all or a majority are from your family, race, or tribe, then you are seriously CQ deficient.

Dr Martin Luther King, Jr died fighting for a nation where his four little children would not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character. Likewise, we must work towards a nation where the distribution of political positions, jobs, and other national and county resources is not based on one’s proximity to the national or county till, but on the provisions of the Constitution and national laws. We must therefore part ways with politicians who, because of their low CQ, herd us like goats by painting other communities as our enemies. This is a lie we must debunk.

The writer is the Presiding Bishop of Christ is the Answer Ministries (CITAM)[email protected]