Gov’t retreat; Maybe we should all go into retreat

Today marks the first day of the annual leadership retreat scheduled to consume three days of this holy week. For the second year, the retreat shifts from the luxurious lakeside Serena Kivu hotel to a military base. 
Arthur Asiimwe
Arthur Asiimwe

Today marks the first day of the annual leadership retreat scheduled to consume three days of this holy week.

For the second year, the retreat shifts from the luxurious lakeside Serena Kivu hotel to a military base.  The change in venue from a lakeshore five-star hotel to ‘bushy’ military garrison is fundamental in itself. It sends out a message that a retreat is not a merry-making holiday time but rather serious business.

Yet again, the benefits of holding these retreats at such venues can better be understood by visiting Gako Military School. The place has transformed into a modern facility. It’s a case of killing two birds with one stone.

This is why sooner than later, it should shift to schools–starting with universities. That way, the appalling conditions within these institutions could improve.

The central theme of this year’s retreat focuses on strategising effective implementation of the goals that are outlined in EDPRS II.

The target, as reported in yesterday’s papers, is to ensure that the economy grows at an average of 11.5 per cent during the implementation period of this strategy.

Ambitious as it may sound, this target is attainable considering that we have in the past registered this kind of growth. However, the external forces we faced then might be different from what we face today and could impact on us negatively. The global financial meltdown is still biting, oil prices remain speculative, donors are reneging on their promises and the geo-politics of this region continues to affect trade and investments

Therefore, much as we desire these growth figures, there’s nowhere to escape these external factors, which remain eminent. And coming on the heels of a donor crisis, I would wish to see how we intend to achieve this growth and, at the same time, reduce on dependency. 

However, that said, as our leaders head East to Gabiro, we should not remain idol (after all the office boss is away). We should also have our own retreats in our different capacities.

For example, our journalists should retreat and digest how they have been given a rope to hang themselves through self- regulation. The pertinent question to ask is how self-regulation will succeed in an industry where professional standards remain wanting and where professional associations seem to be hijacked by the semi-skilled.

In addition, our media ‘gurus’ should take time to ask themselves why every local tabloid comes out with a photo of a General on the cover? Is it a deontology picked from school or is it simply a ‘Rwandan’ style? Or better still, why should these tabloids bear alarming headlines only to find that the substance in the content is zero.

Since the IGP will be the only senior Police officer at the retreat, his lieutenants especially those within Traffic Police could also retreat and ask themselves why they have to stop every car for ‘controle’, even if you clearly see that the car is an ‘RAC’ number imported yesterday.

The guys at KCC could spend these three days reflecting on why they have to shoot themselves in the foot. Today, they issue a license for a recreation facility and tomorrow when the facility booms, they revoke the license. How then shall we attain the vision of being a conference hub for the region? 

Parliamentary elections are round the corner, and I am sure these three days could provide ample time for technocrats at the Electoral Commission to diagnose what went wrong in Kenya.  Soon (given our ICT credentials), we should be having an e-voting platform; therefore, one issue our EC officials would be interested in, is how a multi-million dollar electronic voter tallying system collapses at the last minute.

Better still, how do we continue to safeguard this country from the virus that a Kenyan commentator called a ‘tribal census’ in the name of an election, from penetrating into our fragile society?

More importantly, as the leaders in Gabiro lay strategies on how to move this country forward, we on the main street, should take time to think of where we are coming from, where we want to be, how to get there and who can get us there.

Yes, we should retreat and come up with a common position on the famous ‘homework!’ We need to look around and see DRC and examine who is driving things there, look at CAR and ask yourself who is behind that mess, go further North and look at Mali and see what has begotten the famous ‘model of democracy.’ What is the common denominator in all these crises?  Weak leadership! N'est ce pas?

We also know that like the biblical Promised Land, there’s a promised land we want to reach. It is the middle-income status. Yet it was only Moses who delivered Israelites to this Promised Land. There was no second Moses. Maybe, that biblical incidence could be a source of inspiration as we embark on this homework.

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