5 Desirable Qualities of Political Leadership
In just about three months, we’ve had two elections with the presidential election being hotly contested. This means the country has been in campaign mode for a considerable period of time. During this period, we’ve seen political leaders undergo investigation for for engaging in hate speech intended to propagate violence. Ideally, political leaders ought to guide their followers on the right path by setting a good examples and rallying them behind a common vision that gives them hope and possibility of a better future.
For a country like ours, political leadership out to be about unifying citizens and providing a clear direction that will enable us to succeed as a nation. It ought to uphold certain values that complement its constitutional obligation to enable the country utilize untapped knowledge and resources for the common good. Here are some 5 qualities that I find desirable of every political leader:
I think each political leader needs to demonstrate a high level of respect for the citizens who are holders of sovereign power as stipulated by Article 1 of the constitution. For me, this respect can be demonstrated by listening to them and being considerate of their opinions and suggestions. Even more, I think political leaders can demonstrate respect by upholding their rights and freedoms as outlined in the bill of rights in chapter four of the constitution. This way, we would be in a better position to deliver on the promises of the constitution, among them devolution.
While the title Mheshimiwa may not be applicable to every political leader, it is incumbent upon those who carry this title to bring honour and dignity to the nation and the office they hold as required by chapter 6 of the constitution. When the actions and conduct of political leaders are aligned to the values contained in Article 10, public confidence in the offices they hold is built. We have seen some of our political leaders being linked to vices like graft, and mismanagement of public funds both at national and county levels. These vices portray selfishness and greed, thereby tainting the image of the offices they hold as opposed to bringing honor to it.
- Service to the people
Ideally, the constitution we have now does not foresee leaders as people who exercise power over the citizens. Rather, it encourages them to serve the people by identifying their needs. This means that public resources, which are collected from citizens in the form of taxes, should be spent on providing services to citizens in order to improve the quality of their lives as anticipated by the constitution. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There have been instances where our leaders spend so much time and resources on projects that according to them, are more appropriate to the community but the citizens feel they are not. This is because they fail to involve citizens in identifying the needs and implementing projects that best address their needs.
Leaders also ought to ensure that the decisions they make are impartial and are not influenced by nepotism, tribalism, favouritism or any other improper motive or corrupt practice. This is important in promoting equity and equality during distribution of resources because it created an environment that is free from discrimination and unifies citizens.
This is an important aspect of any democracy. Leaders need to be answerable to citizens for the decisions they make while holding the positions they hold. For political leaders, this is critical because they either hold power that citizens have delegated to them through an election process or are seeking to hold that power. This means that the decisions they make should be in the best interest of the citizens and should contribute, either directly or indirectly, to making their lives better.