Why political leaders should strive for decorum

Friday, September 18th, 2020 00:00 |
Emurua Dikirr MP Johanna Ng’eno. Photo/PD/RAPHAEL MUNGE

Joshua Ngala 

Kenya is in a season of infected political discourse. It is a time when some political leaders are setting themselves apart by hurling insults at others.

They are obsessed with what they should be saying instead of how they should impact the society.

Such political blind spots should never be given space in our national discourse.

A recent Veracity Index 2020 by IPSOS on who people trust most, ranks politicians as the lowest at 32 per cent and nurses as the most trusted at 97 per cent.

The scorecard sends a signal of a lack of trust and public accountability. Hence the boorishness we see around.

The leaders cannot fulfil their purpose and promise to the public, yet  they should not just be mere law makers, but create more value for Kenyans who elected them. That is the basic starting point for a political promise.  

A time has come for political leaders to self-reflect and take inventory of their personal brands. 

Leaders should be a source of inspiration to their subjects; therefore, insults and endless rhetoric will take this country to the dogs.

Such ugly images live in minds of electorates against what they have been promised. 

It is a bad experience and a disgust as it might also drive more bad behaviour. 

Politicians have always taken advantage of social epidemics. As usual, bad behaviour and utterances spread like virus and diffuse through a population.

They have mastered the art of violating public expectations by breaking a pattern making their unexpected surprises get national attention.

One major way social influence affects us is through conformity. Some young leaders are already imitating such impunity. It remains a monkey see, monkey do.

Leaders must therefore understand political brands are built on foundations of respect, purpose, promise, accountability and our national history.  

Joe McGinniss summed up in his seminal 1969 book, The Selling of the President, that politics has always been a con game.

He meant that a lot of political actions are never decided by logic and facts. However, beware of being illogical.

Your appearance, actions, and words reflect on your brand. Comb through your touch points to see if anything is off value.

A political office must be a brand that connects with constituents. Even a small misstep can be blown into a huge mistake that distorts the brand.

Bad political behaviour is harmful and costly for stakeholders, markets, society, and economy.

Change comes with public accountability that includes imparting values to the electorates.

In any services business, the true value is created in the interface between consumer and employee.

In this case, the consumer is Wanjiku, and the employer to the elected leaders. I would want to witness a fierce political competition where values created go to electorate.

Where opposition does not ridicule the public, but pass values to electorate as enshrined in our national laws.

Such interface should be at the ‘value zone’ where development takes place. Could we remind our leaders of the historic institutional voids in our health, education, water and sanitation sectors? 

Kenyans are hurt, shocked and even physically sick of the current divisive politics.

It is time we demanded a change for the better leadership entrenched in values.

Even in a typical marketing strategy, it is important to consider the business’s position in the marketplace.

A critical trust-building action is pushing the envelope of modesty to the public.  

The opinion presented here are personal and do not reflect that of the employer.  — The writer is the  Regional Coordinator, Office of the Registrar of Political Parties

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