By Ngari Gituku
Most of the ongoing talk about the Kibaki legacy seems to me hopelessly shallow, utterly misleading, and terribly steeped in ignorance.
While it is encouraging to see Kenyans debate presidential and leadership legacies in general, it is not worth an entry in a lay about’s diary so long as it does not expressly interrogate the total impact of the inspiration (or lack of it) deriving from a given leadership.
At the moment, popular street banter on the Kibaki legacy seems to suggest that a legacy is some jar-bound potion that can evaporate easily, or a trinket to be tied around the loins. Yet a leadership legacy, roughly put, is like an aroma wafting through the air and creating a presence that is impossible to ignore.
Great leadership legacies result from the bead work of thoughts and deeds that bequeath memorable character to a leader or a reign.
A notable reflection contained in a seminal 2006 publication titled ‘Leadership Legacy’ by James Kouzes and Barry Posner, delineates the outermost proportions of a legacy. The authors assert in their introductory notes that it is, “By asking ourselves how we want to be remembered, we plant the seeds for living our lives as if we matter. By living each day as if we matter, we offer up our own unique legacy. By offering up our own unique legacy, we make the world we inhabit a better place than we found it”.
So then what does a leadership legacy entail? Among other elements, according to Kouzes and Posner, the following are the minimum must-haves.
Service and sacrifice
One, a leadership legacy yields from service and sacrifice. Certainly not service to self or sacrifice of others for selfish ends. There is merit in the claim that, “Success in leadership is not measured only in numbers.
Being a leader brings with it a responsibility to do something of significance that makes families, communities, work organisations, nations, the environment, and the world better places than they are today”.