AGE AND GENDER ARE NEVER QUALIFICATIONS FOR LEADERSHIP


By Jaymo Wa Thika

For decades now, there has been so much talk about youth and women being given a chance into leadership.


As we all agree, both the youth and women have for so long been sidelined when it came to taking up positions of leadership and other opportunities. The arena has always been skewed in favour of men and older men for that matter. This eventually led to the clamour for inclusivity especially in the late 80s and early 90s. The clarion call then was to include more women and youth into governance.


The 2010 Constitution attempted to repudiate the historical exclusion of women, youth and persons living with disability from the mainstream society, creating a freedom for them to maneuver their way both in the private and public globe on an equal footing with men.


However, the implementation of these provisions has been a joke to say the least. First and foremost, almost all those who made to these positions are usually unqualified, with their only qualifications being “connections” or through bribery. The positions have never served their purpose to represent those groups of minorities that they were appointed to represent thus beating the logic.


I belong to that school of thought that believes leadership should never be determined by age or the gender. You can be mature but yet be a very poor leader. Likewise, you can be young and very educated but be very undeserving to lead anyone. We have also seen women who are very good leaders but in their midst too are women leaders who have been a disgrace to their fellow women and the society at large.


Leading is the process of influencing others to accomplish specified set objectives. A leader leads the community or a group of persons towards these desired goals. If someone has natural leadership qualities, it doesn’t matter how old they are nor their gender.


History makes it evident that great leaders emerge from all kinds of backgrounds, genders, cultures, and ethnicity. Leadership skills start early in children’s playgroups, in schools and even in community assignments. Leadership is natural and it is the people around you who identify those qualities and propose you to lead them.


This is why I will always be against anyone who claims that they deserve a particular office just because they are women or youth. These positions are never filled in just for the sake of it. They are positions for service and should be given to the most qualified. That individual can be 20 years old or even 100 years old as long as they qualify. That individual can be either a man or a woman who is the most deserving and no one should make noise about such choices based on gender or age.


I also feel that the youth and women have tended to be lazy and only wait on the sidelines to be given these positions on a silver platter. No one will do that. Those holding these positions will not easily let go just to be seen as “modern”. It is like grabbing a piece of meat from the jaws of a lion. It will definitely fight to get back its prize.


You have to fight for your rightful position…. Fight until you get what you deserve and not what you want. If you really deserve it, Kenyans and your community will back you for it. So don’t just sit back and yell yourself hoarse that leaders are not giving you positions of leadership. Get out and fight for what belong to you.

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