This past week has had some tough events that have left the region in a reflective mood. In Uganda the sad news that a one Susan Magara who had been kidnapped and held by her tormentors for over 20 days was found dumped by the roadside, lifeless.
This sad event cast a light on the role of security officers in ensuring the safety of all us but also on individuals being more cautious about their own security.
The commentary on how the state in Uganda has on different occasions failed the citizenry on matters concerning security has been paired with pieces of advice circulating in WhatsApp groups on how individuals can try to stay safe.
As we hope for the culprits of this heinous crime to be brought to book we should continue to look out for each other and cooperate with security operatives whenever we can.
In Kenya, the story of Kenyatta National Hospital surgeons performing brain surgery on the wrong patient is really mind numbing (no pun intended). It caused a lot of uproar on the levels of professionalism in the hospital.
Some even joked that you could walk in with a pot belly and you get a caesarean section performed on you! Others called for the top management to take responsibility and resign.
Of course each time people call some of our leaders to resign for overseeing poor service delivery, it comes off as a joke. It very rarely happens and our newspaper archives are full of headlines with adamant leaders shouting “I will not resign.” A lot of this arrogance stems from the fact that many times these so called leaders forget what their duties and responsibilities really are. When they fail to deliver what is expected of them they do not even see their own failures and own up to them.
They instead turn around and look at any criticism as a personal attack. In some countries they will even spread their insecurities to rope in whole communities and expect their community to rally behind them and save them.
Imagine an incompetent person using his community as a form of job insurance? Once they have secured this community protection they feel they cannot even be fired because their people will be ‘angry’ and not vote properly in the next election. This kind of attitude simply serves to enslave people with administrative mediocrity.
It was therefore heart warming to hear that during the recent Leadership Retreat or Umwiherero as it is better known in Rwanda, President Paul Kagame urged leaders to adopt a culture of serving with humility and hard work. This newspaper reported that he also reminded them not to get carried away by self importance, a message that applies to all of us.
If you look closely the leaders who perform worst at their duties are the same ones drowning in self importance and lack of humility. The ones who feel they are doing a favour to the wanainchi and everyone should just bow their heads when in their presence. There is no way you can expect either good service delivery or even accountability from people with such egos.
In his message President Kagame complained that valuable time is spent in according protocols to senior government officials while burdening the people. It is important to note that it will take quite a lot of work for this attitude to be corrected.
Often times, when people get into such offices they see it as a reward and that it is their turn to enjoy (or eat). So they start to demand undue respect and even fear from those they interact with.
Even when they are out of their known work spaces you may hear some of them burdening others with stupid questions like, “Do you know who I am?” or “You need to know people.” When such people fail to do their job, they look at anyone who questions their abilities as being disrespectful and not understanding that their job is so tough and so we ought to be patient with them.
This toxic attitude also easily trickles down to other areas of society. It is common to find leaders at the grassroots level who are hardly ever in office and when they are, want to be bribed to do the same jobs they draw a salary for. We all have a lot of work to do in ensuring that people with responsibilities and duties are aware of them and do a good job and when they fail us, we call them out sternly.