Leaders in Corona war frontline doing Kenya proud

Monday, April 20th, 2020 00:00 |
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe (right) with Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna (centre) and acting Director General of Health Patrick Amoth addresses the media at Afya House in Nairobi. Photo/File

The Covid-19 crisis in Kenya has opened the eyes of Kenyans on what effective leadership means.

Leaders have emerged from the unlikeliest of places, and given people hope that they have good stewards marshalling the fight against the virus.

More so because we are used to sloppy leadership, buck-passing, and sheer laziness among those given responsibility.

The Health ministry has demonstrated what can be achieved when teams are focussed and work in harmony.

The team leader, Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, has emerged forcefully. Having been appointed when the crisis was already buffeting the world, he has had a very steep learning curve. 

Further, he is the leader of the multi-agency National Emergency Response Committee on Covid-19 that was established by President Uhuru Kenyatta to fight the pandemic.

He has run a transparent, open operation, regularly updating Kenyans. His co-ordination of the taskforce has been smooth, inspiring confidence that the government’s war against Covid-19 is on track, and in the right hands.

Acting Health Director-General Dr Patrick Amoth has been another leader to emerge.

Seen as the technical face in the ministry, he is the man apparently in charge of all technical aspects of the health response to Covid-19. 

Dr Amoth projects authority, technical competence and firmness, something that is very reassuring to Kenyans in these troubled times. 

The same goes for the youthful Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Mercy Mwagangi, whose poise, confidence and technical capacity belies her years.

She has given the country hope that there is a new generation of leaders ready, willing and capable of stepping up to the big stage. Watch this lady’s trajectory post-Corona.

One of the biggest mandates in this crisis has fallen on the Interior ministry. From enforcing a countrywide curfew and movement ban into and out of the four most hit counties, to contact tracing and busting congregations of drunks, this ministry is also pivotal to this battle. 

As expected, CS Fred Matiang’i has stepped up powerfully, and as he is wont to do, and is on the ground personally overseeing operations. 

Also to distinguish himself is the Rift Valley Regional County Commissioner, George Natembeya, who has also decided to lead from the front, and be on the ground personally.

Whether it is closing markets to stop the spread,or educating people atop his official four-wheel drive vehicle, this top officer has decided to lead his troops.

To complicate matters, he is dealing with bandits in Baringo and Trans Mara, who have caused untold havoc. He has come out forcefully to deal with all these crises.

Some governors have really stepped up. Top of mind is Mombasa’s Hassan Joho, who wasted no time taking off. 

This man has distinguished himself as a leader ready to work for his people, and go the extra mile to provide solutions.

He has eschewed the daily whining that many other governors have adopted even as they do little to prepare with the resources they have.

Mombasa county now has three hospitals ready to accept Covid-19 patients, each with ICU beds. Joho is working with very effective partners.

In collaboration with partners and the Technical University of Mombasa, the county is piloting sanitiser booths for mass disinfection for commuters boarding the ferry, and a thermal scanner for screening commuters.

He has given masks to police in Mombasa to distribute to residents rather than arrest them. Solutions. This is what the country needs right now, not whiners. 

Governors must stop whining and get to work urgently. 

Worthy of mention is the Eastleigh Business District Association, which took the drastic precautionary step of closing down shopping malls and markets when an Imam there died of Covid-19.

True leadership.  As Kagwe has stated, “This disease is not the government’s disease, it is a disease for you and I.”  

These leaders have stood out because of demonstrating such attributes as initiative, confidence, being proactive, caring for people, solution-oriented, authoritative and firm, decisive, and selfless. They have also rejected the refuge of the malingerer - whining.

Kenya is still flying very close to the wind, and these leaders are going beyond the call of duty to stop the country from getting into the eye of the storm. The country needs all hands on deck. All leaders must step up! [email protected]

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