There has been growing disquiet about President Uhuru Kenyatta’s actions lately. The collapsed pact with his Deputy; his big appetite for capital investment in infrastructure and his refusal to appoint some judges despite Justice Service Commission’s recommendations have all attracted hue and cry.
But let us separate noise from signal. Methinks it is a signal of new leadership style in his second term, of which Jubilee vice chairman and president’s ally, David Murathe, had already warned.
In a nutshell, President Kenyatta has adopted a transformational leadership style, whose four characteristics of intellectual stimulation, individualised consideration, clear vision and idealised influence are clearly visible.
Intellectual stimulation. Not only has the president challenged the status quo; as if inspired by the book ‘Team of Rivals’, Uhuru has adopted relational intelligence, working with rivals towards achieving his vision.
Individualised Consideration: The president has been offering support and encouragement to individual followers.
Many great leaders, some of whom were earlier unknown, have performed well and delivered because of his support. Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i is one example.
Those close to him say the president fosters supportive relationships, offers direct recognition of the unique contributions of team members and keeps lines of communication open so that his team members share ideas freely.
Thirdly, the president has a clear vision that he is able to articulate to his team and the entire nation.
He is ready to sacrifice anything else for that vision, for the country’s good. Being a transformational leader, to achieve this vision the president is ready to sacrifice his kingmakers, abandon the political outfit that took him to State House and even lose popularity in his home turf if only to achieve his goal.
Idealised influence: With his vision to unite the country, the president has been a role model for the nation as demonstrated through his development and peace agenda.
Moreover in the latest budget where many critics pushed for reduction in funding in many areas due to state of economy, he decided to walk the narrow road by striking a balance between his infrastructure legacy projects and the harsh economic times.
The president knows his legacy will be about leaving behind a better Kenya of which all Kenyans will be proud. Decades later, Kenyans will recognise his huge contribution to nation building.
-Dr Ogola is Director of the Institute of Strategy and Competitiveness at Strathmore University Business School