Header Ads



A few weeks ago I came across a hilarious story of a new commanding officer who had been posted to a new military base, as is the custom the officer began familiarizing himself with the personnel and the operations as well as the culture of the new place. While going through records he realized that several officers had been posted to man different places that were of strategic importance to the camp. 

On his second week he noted that there is a post that was not within the camp but had an officer posted daily.

The commanding officer made a visit to the spot which was not far from the military base. It had a beautiful relaxing scenic view near a river, a waterfall nearby completed the picturesque view. The place had a bench facing the river where an officer stood guard. “Why are you guarding this place? The commanding officer asked.” “I was posted here sir by my supervisor” replied the junior officer. “What exactly are you guarding? The commanding officer asked. “I was told to stand guard five feet from the bench sir” replied the junior officer.

The commanding officer went to the supervisor and asked why he had posted an officer to stand guard at an empty space. “I found the duty roster that way sir when I came here” replied the supervisor. No one would explain the reason why the bench always had an officer standing guard, a trend that had continued for years. The commanding officer paid a visit to a former retired commanding officer who was in his 80s and had served at the military base for years to try and get an explanation and the story behind the trend.

“They still post an officer there? The retired officer asked while laughing. The commanding officer was surprised at the remark. “do you know the reason sir?”. The old soldier told him that while he was commanding the camp he would at times get into domestic wrangles and at times would get work related stress, he would take a walk to the river bank to just cool off and enjoy the view. And since there was nowhere to sit he ordered a bench made and an officer to supervise the work.

Because of his rank the human resource supervisor decided to post an officer to stand guard at the bench and ensure the place was secured before and after the commanding officer had left. His successor continued with the postings at the scenic place and no one knew why, even when the place had no strategic advantage someone would still be sent there to stand guard. 

On his way back the commanding officer wondered why no one ever cared to ask and find out the mystery behind posting an officer to stand guard five feet from an empty bench.

Kenya is a land of mystery. Every five years Kenyans get to vote and elect their representatives, barely six months after the elections they begin to complain. The complaining continues for another five years. They then come back again and repeat the same thing and make the same choices that made them complain. 

Kenyans are generally good people but every five years they make some bad choices after going through a buffet of options. But do Kenyans have to settle for bad? Didn’t God almighty create good decent men and women with integrity, selfless service and respectful?

But Kenyans are also prayerful, before elections we flock in places of worship and pray for good leaders. Deep in our bones we want good, how then do we end up with bad and worse? How is it that we end up with people who have form and no substance? That even when good people are placed before our eyes we never miss an opportunity to select the bad ones.

How is it that we identify that we need someone who can look after the education for our children, and yet end up electing a semi-literate or illiterate and inexperienced? And justify it by saying that education and leadership are not related. And when they pass oppressive and retrogressive education, tax and rates policies we are surprised.

How is it that we pray for leaders who will protect our resources and taxes and utilize them to our common purpose and then elect the village thief to stand guard and look after them. when a farmer employs a village thief to shepherd his animals, should he complain when he notices his sheep and goats are missing? 

When other communities are taking their leadership and asking them for social accountability and implementation of affordable healthcare, water and sanitation, reduction of poverty and unemployment, inclusivity and empowerment, and enhanced education for the general welfare of the community; other leaders are telling us that the other thief has stolen more than they have and so we should elect them. Must the choices be about which lunatic will run the asylum? 

We want world class security, world class education and infrastructure yet we continue to lower our quality of those we will task with chatting that world class vision. We want the best but we are not willing to pay the price to achieve it. We want a doctor who is educated and specialized to look after our health. 

We want a qualified and experienced CEO, manager, engineer, to take care of our business. Yet we don’t demand these qualities of community service, integrity, dignity, non-corruptible, capable, selflessness and education from our leaders. Who will save us from our self-destruction? Where is the stop or reset button?

We continue to stand guard five feet behind
an empty bench at the river bank, overlooking a beautiful scenic view.

Juma Hemedi Mwaniki
MP Thika Town Constituency- 2022

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.