Reuben Mbuve

by Reuben Mbuve – MwanaaReginah
Independent blogger

The 2017 election process is in full swing, but almost no one seems happy about it.  during the festive season, I traveled to my home constituency, Masinga, Machakos County, and had the privilege of interacting with local residents. I kept asking most about the gubernatorial elections, 7 out of 10 said that they couldn’t wait for it to be over.  In part, the electorate’s malaise stems from the fact that none of the gubernatorial aspirants/candidates are generating much enthusiasm from voters, and the incumbent  approval rating continues to hover at less than 50%.  People aren’t excited about their options, and as the election process grinds on many voters may be thinking that no matter who wins the seat in August, he (or she) will not be the sort of leader that we really want.

But exactly what kind of leader is that? What do people look for when picking a governor?

Everyone holds a set of expectations, assumptions, and beliefs about what a “good” leader is like.  Social and organizational psychologists call these assumptions “implicit leadership theories,” or sometimes “leader prototypes.”  For example, most people’s implicit leadership theories include the idea that good leaders are intelligent, energetic, and moral; not many people think that good leaders are stupid, sluggish, or unscrupulous.  These assumptions are “implicit” in the sense that people hold their beliefs about leadership without thinking carefully or deeply about them


We can ask about people’s implicit theories of gubernatorial leadership.  What are the personal qualities that people associate with being a good governor?  Of course, we want our county leaders to be many things, but one exceptionally important characteristic is that we want our governor and other elected officials to be wise.  Presumably, most people prefer their leaders to make wise rather than unwise decisions, but then again, most people seem to think that wisdom is in rather short supply in kenyan political leadership these days.

Political observers don’t talk much about “wisdom” (I certainly haven’t heard the word mentioned in the context of this year’s election), but polls do show that voters want a president who shows “sound judgment,” which comes reasonably close to wisdom.  At the most basic level, wisdom requires a set of cognitive and motivational qualities that increase the likelihood that a person will make the optimal decision in a particular situation, a decision that leads to a course of action that will maximize the greatest good for the greatest number.  But what are the characteristics that promote wise and judicious decisions? What are the qualities of a wise person?

Psychological research on wisdom has identified a number of such characteristics, but three dominate most conceptualizations of wisdom (Helson & Srivastava, 2002; Sternberg, 1990).

1. Wise people recognize that the world is in flux and that circumstances are likely to change over time.  Thus, the wise person displays ongoing openness, flexibility, and a willingness to change one’s course of action as the situation changes.  Rigidity and closed-mindedness do not tend to lead to wise decisions.

2. Wise people recognize the limits of their own knowledge and acknowledge the possibility that their personal beliefs, perspectives, and preferred courses of action are often not optimal and, in fact, are sometimes incorrect.   Assuming that no one knows everything or has an inside route to intellectual or moral truth, wisdom requires intellectual humility.   Wise people seek and rely on ideas and feedback from other people, and change their preconceptions about the best course of action based on other people’s input.  And, the more divergent the advisers who are consulted, the wiser the final decision is likely to be.

3. Wise people know that achieving the common good requires them to take all interests and perspectives into account in an effort to see the big picture.  Wisdom also involves making a concerted effort to transcend one’s own biases and personal interests when they might not be optimal for most people.  Not only must solutions be found that promote the well-being of the greatest number, but given that everybody’s views are inherently egocentric and biased, wise leaders know that the approach that they personally prefer may not, in fact, be the best decision.  So, wisdom requires searching for genuine compromise when disagreements and conflicts arise.

Setting aside the possibility that politicians who exhibit this set of characteristics may be a rare breed, consider the fact that the attributes that underlie wisdom are often diametrically opposed to the traits that people seek in their favorite political candidates.

Taken together, these views suggest that most voters are not looking for a wise governor/leader, and that the three do not display the best of characteristics of the leader we want. And, in fact, a large proportion of the population appears to favor candidates who display traits that are incompatible with wisdom—dogmatism, rigidity, overconfidence in one’s own views, and an unwillingness to compromise.  It is as if many voters from across the political spectrum are seeking a general who will fight ideological battles rather than a governor who seeks wise and effective solutions to the county’s many problems.

The incumbent Dr. Mutua , has great credentials under his belt. A graduate at Eastern Washington University,U.S.A,Master of Science Degree in Communications,Doctorate in Communication and Media. Prior to his appointment, as government spokesman by the NARC goverment,  Dr. Alfred Mutua served as an Assistant Professor in the College of Communication and Media Sciences, Zayed University in Dubai where he conducted extensive research on the use of “Media for Democracy and Development.”

In addition to his experience matters communication, the young intelligent Dr. was deemed by the electorate as the best candidate they could have, but they most, if not all agree that he has failed to deliver his manifesto promises. Most projects he initiated, although with good objective and viable positives, have never taken root nor change the people’s way of life.

My opinion: It will need more than a strategy to beat his PR brigade

Benard Kiala, the Incumbent’s de jure deputy,  is a banker by profession, who has spent most of his career in the banking sector. He was employed by Trade Bank in 1993 after which he worked for CFC Stanbic Bank from 1994 to 2002. He has been traversing the county with an objective of educating the electorates through civic education drive, termed #UgatuziNaKiala. His philanthropic organization, The Kiala Foundation provides civic and economic empowerment to the youth, women and rural organized groups.The foundation also gives bursaries to needy student. Many view him as the savior, having been the whistleblower of the county’s many corruption scams.

My opinion: If he clinches the Wiper nominations, he will be the man to beat

WAVINYA NDETI, she of the famous OSAI VINYA NA WAVINYA, is the only woman to throw her weight yet again for the county’s top position. A graduate of Heirotwatt University, United Kingdom, has extensive experience in management, having been a manging director of Lionix Merchants  for more than 10 years. During the last elections, She lost to the incumbent by 60% (or there of) of the votes, which is not an easy fit, considering that the incumbent had the backing of the Wiper party brigade and financial muscles, and of course, she is a woman. But she proved many wrong after garnering almost 100, ooo votes

My opinion: Being previously an elected MP,  a party leader, and the fact that she is running for a second time, she is the best placed to woo masses, political wise.

Is the devil we know better?  or

Is it better to have ‘the angel we think’ we know? or

Was Clinton, the woman not preferred as the lesser evil?

your vote is your decision