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Last week, Professor Peter Kagwanja announced his intention to run for Murang’a Senator. He joined a list of other hopefuls in the race to represent Murang'a County in The Senate. earlier on in Kiambu county, Dr. Machel Waikenda had resigned from his State House job and announced his intention to run for Kiambu Senator. 

A few weeks ago a news article in one of the dailies carried a story of top academicians who will be battling for the position of women Representative and Members of parliament, in one of the counties in Nyanza. The article brought about mixed reactions from various counties, with Kenyans on social media making a comparison between the caliber of Nyanza candidates and those in their own areas.

Granted, Nyanza and North Eastern have always strived to bring their best brains to both the national and county platforms. From the likes of Proffessor Anyang' Nyongo, Otiende Omollo, Lawyer Okong'o Omogeni, James Orengo, TJ Kajwang' among others, to the likes of The late Dr. Bonaya Godana, Abdikadir Mohamed, Dr. Noor, Billow Kerrow and others from North Eastern. 

As is the custom, the elders in North Eastern agree and come up with a list of those who will run for various positions, the latest being the selection of Abdulkadir Haji to replace the late Garissa Senator Yussuf Haji. They select the best amongst the hopefuls and their word is final. And when they come to the negotiating table, do discuss their issues, they are as tough as Nail.

Many practicing Professionals, academicians and experts on policy, development, education and health have been staying away from elective leadership. They sit and watch as situation get from bad to worse in the corridors of power and legislation. They then complain over this and that law or regulation not being fair to their practice or to Kenyans. The only profession that has had their members represented in almost all aspects of Government has been Lawyers.

Plato warned and reminded us that “one of the penalties for refusing to participate in elections is that you end up being governed by your inferiors”. At Independence Mzee Jomo Kenyatta invited some of the best intellectual brains that existed at the time. Those invited included Mwai Kibaki who was taken from the lecture halls of Makerere University, Dr Kiano and Tom Mboya. These intellectuals drafted some of the best policies that are in use to date.

The education and health sector has had the most complains on policy, legislation, work related issues including compensation. Yet these two professions are least interested in politics. In the 70s and 80s many people who would go into politics were teachers. But today lecturers and professors have taken a back seat even in matters concerning counties. 

Only a handful of academicians including; Proffesor Kibutha Kibwana, Proffessor Anyang' Nyong'o, Professor Margaret Kamar and Professor John Lonyangapuo continue to remain relevant in politics.

In many forums we have heard speakers mention that at independence in 1963, Kenya and Singapore were at the same economic level and that at some point Kenya even loaned one of the Asian Giants some money. But what the speakers forget to mention is the critical role that was played by the intellectuals of Singapore led by the founding father Lee Kuan Yew in setting the spirit of the country. What the professionals and the intellectuals of that country realized is that so long as they continued to allow dirty people to dominate political leaderships; politics will continue to be a dirty game. 

Our brightest countrymen and women in the professions of doctors, engineers, architects, university lecturers, surveyors, lawyers, accountants and auditors, IT specialists, agriculturalists, pharmacists, policy advisors and consultants, environmentalists, humanitarian workers and civil society activists must this year realize that it is in their power to remake this country and to re-align it to its highest ideals. 

It is not enough to sit back, complain and point at where the problem is, they must take that bold step and seek the positions of MCAs, MPs, Senators, Governor, Women Representatives and even the President of the Republic.

Professionals must combine their intellectual knowledge with political skills in the race to make our country better. The picture in Murang'a, North Eastern counties and Nyanza should be duplicated in other counties too. We must elect individuals who will make us proud and who will give the best reflection of ourselves.

The founding father of the Nation of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew said; “you vote in jokers, cranks and weak men, charlatans with some gift of the garb, you run a very serious risk of losing everything you have”

Let us get the best of us into leadership.

Juma Hemedi Mwaniki

MP Thika Town Constituency – 2022




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