@TheEastAfrican

If Kenyan leaders learnt to eat last, we would have a happier, healthier society

1 weeks ago, 11:02

By: Nerima Wako-ojiwa

Officers eat last, the troops eat first. Sometimes there is no food left, but it comes with the title.

When I joined the Marines, I was 21 years old, so I find it hard to believe that in Kenya, a 35-year-old, is still considered a youth.

In my time, 35 was old." These words were said to me by an ex-US marine who came to Kenya in 1981 and has been living here ever since.

When do "elders" eat last? In some cultures, we see the women eating last, especially during large feasts, making sure all the men are served, especially the elders, then the children.

A few days ago, a video went viral of teenage boys, between the ages of 16 and 17 burning books and shouting all sorts of obscenities, insulting Cabinet Secretaries and in the process claiming to have cheated in their final examinations.

There was such an uproar that President Uhuru Kenyatta himself said the should be punished for their behaviour. In a matter of hours, most of them were found and reprimanded. Their case was heard in a court of law, and as of now they are in remand.

Is leadership learnt or can one be born with leadership skills? This country can make it really difficult for youth to learn leadership or integrity given the example of their leaders.

All this pressure to act different from their parents is delusional. An apple doesn't fall far from the tree, but somehow we expect our apple trees to produce oranges.

It is madness. Leadership is learnt, but our leaders are not teaching us a thing. We have watched them call us names, call each other names, throw punches at one another, fight over a receipt… The list goes on.

We have seen the governor of Nairobi roll on public roads, climb fences like a goon and destroy property. But nothing happens to such people, indeed they rise politically. But dare to say you cheated on an examination and it is jail time for you. Key word here, is claim – we are still awaiting proof.

Questioning has never been our strength. Burning schoolbooks is not a new phenomenon, nor is hurling insults, but oh, these foolish youth.

The same way we get angry over young ladies having sponsors, or wanting to become socialites but do not even talk about the men who financially support that lifestyle. These are married old men, but the stain of sin remains on the young lady, who is considered a shame to society.

So what young people are learning is that integrity does not pay. One can do the right thing and look foolish. Such as starting an organisation because you have tried to look for a job, but for years nothing has opened up. Only to be told at the office of registration, you need to make payments to the listed offices, “It will take a long time if you go to the bank, but if you pay me… it will take a few days, but you have to pay extra.”

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Category: topnews news oped opinion

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@TheEastAfrican

If Kenyan leaders learnt to eat last, we would have a happier, healthier society

1 weeks ago, 11:02

By: Nerima Wako-ojiwa

Officers eat last, the troops eat first. Sometimes there is no food left, but it comes with the title.

When I joined the Marines, I was 21 years old, so I find it hard to believe that in Kenya, a 35-year-old, is still considered a youth.

In my time, 35 was old." These words were said to me by an ex-US marine who came to Kenya in 1981 and has been living here ever since.

When do "elders" eat last? In some cultures, we see the women eating last, especially during large feasts, making sure all the men are served, especially the elders, then the children.

A few days ago, a video went viral of teenage boys, between the ages of 16 and 17 burning books and shouting all sorts of obscenities, insulting Cabinet Secretaries and in the process claiming to have cheated in their final examinations.

There was such an uproar that President Uhuru Kenyatta himself said the should be punished for their behaviour. In a matter of hours, most of them were found and reprimanded. Their case was heard in a court of law, and as of now they are in remand.

Is leadership learnt or can one be born with leadership skills? This country can make it really difficult for youth to learn leadership or integrity given the example of their leaders.

All this pressure to act different from their parents is delusional. An apple doesn't fall far from the tree, but somehow we expect our apple trees to produce oranges.

It is madness. Leadership is learnt, but our leaders are not teaching us a thing. We have watched them call us names, call each other names, throw punches at one another, fight over a receipt… The list goes on.

We have seen the governor of Nairobi roll on public roads, climb fences like a goon and destroy property. But nothing happens to such people, indeed they rise politically. But dare to say you cheated on an examination and it is jail time for you. Key word here, is claim – we are still awaiting proof.

Questioning has never been our strength. Burning schoolbooks is not a new phenomenon, nor is hurling insults, but oh, these foolish youth.

The same way we get angry over young ladies having sponsors, or wanting to become socialites but do not even talk about the men who financially support that lifestyle. These are married old men, but the stain of sin remains on the young lady, who is considered a shame to society.

So what young people are learning is that integrity does not pay. One can do the right thing and look foolish. Such as starting an organisation because you have tried to look for a job, but for years nothing has opened up. Only to be told at the office of registration, you need to make payments to the listed offices, “It will take a long time if you go to the bank, but if you pay me… it will take a few days, but you have to pay extra.”

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