Of Beard, Leadership and Integrity




Leadership development has had its fair share of airplay recently. This of course has to do with the fact that most, if not all, of the ills that plague our beloved country can be traced back to poor leadership or total absence of it. It was thus a breath of fresh air when Leadership and Integrity was captured in the new constitution. However, as much as I am a firm believer that this is the way to go, I also believe that too much ambition would inevitably result in ambiguity. I am not a privileged member of the circle that is the learned friends but as a self-declared patriot, I have a say in this matter. And I say rule out any weak spots that are ambiguous. We are already paying the price seeing that none is certain of when the next general elections shall be held. Anyway, here is my bone of contention. I cannot quote it like our learned friends do. So I beg the indulgence of the reader to look up its exact location in the leadership and integrity bill.

(2) A state officer shall possess the following leadership qualities –

(p) Maintenance of personal hygiene and modesty and objectivity in dressing, speaking and writing in public and private life.

13. (1) A State officer shall—

(f) Maintain an appropriate standard of dress and personal hygiene;

There now. Do you see it? How does one go about measuring personal hygiene-objectively measuring personal hygiene? What is the standard of a leader’s personal hygiene? Who determines the appropriateness of a leader’s personal hygiene? Considering that the feminist movement’s ball is garnering immense masses, I feel for my kind; the kind that adorns steely wires on their chins commonly referred to as beard. I have been on the receiving end because of this adornment that I love. “Shave it please” I have often been told. This voice has been lifted higher by the older folks among my kind. I have no idea where or when this idea came forth but it is there among the old folks-and it persists in a most nagging manner to beard lovers such as I. That a leader has to be clean-shaven in order to be considered one. I humour myself atimes and Imagine an aspiring candidate barred from holding office due to “excessive amounts of beard that exhibit ill maintenance of personal hygiene”. A bit far-fetched one might say. However, there are those among us notorious for cheap publicity stunts. Sooner or later they will see this platform and use every ounce of their energy to dance upon it. Consider this…

(5)Any person or the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission may apply to the High Court for the nullification of any selection or election or appointment which does not meet the requirements of this section

Those two words-any person-is an invitation to that lass or lad seeking attention. The Kenyan populace being hungry for such ludicrous shows, he or she will get that unmerited attention. And this is all because of beard. An advance warning to such is that it has nothing to do with leadership. There are clean shaven men out there who have no inkling about leadership and integrity. On the other hand, there are full grown bearded men out there who are oozing with leadership and integrity. Let us not lose such because of ambiguities in our law. I rest my case!