Selfless Leaders

When will we stop living for ourselves?

Everyday you wake up to headlines of selfish leaders being accused of graft. Of course they all cry foul and claim a political witch-hunt (opponents out to get them).

A famous Swahili saying goes like, “Penye moshi hapakosi Moto”. To imply that, where there’s smoke, there has to be a fire.

The selfishness in our society is sickening. Former anti-graft Czar, John Githongo famously had his story on fight against corruption published in Michela Wrong‘s book It’s Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower.

I ask again, can we live for something else bigger than us?

I read of Abraham Lincoln, a great statesman in USA and an eloquent leader who will forever be remembered as selfless. He had his faults but is still remembered for the 13th amendment that gave birth to freedom of the blacks and other successes. I read of Tom Mboya, a great and eloquent leader who stood up for the truth but sadly both men had their lives cut short by selfish people and sympathizers.  

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Read more

“We will never, never sell our freedom for capital or technical aid. We stand for freedom at any cost.” -Tom Mboya on 8th December 1959 as he chaired the All Africa People’ s Conference. Read more


Tom Mboya with his friend president John F. Kennedy.  Source: Website article –


A leader in my understanding puts the interests of the people above his. Sadly, us voters we always go for the politician with the biggest bucks and then cry foul after electing them.

I will however single out the constituents of Buuri, Meru county for electing a selfless leader in my view. Boniface Kinoti Gatobu is an example of a young man who had nothing and became something.

The people gave him a chance despite the odds against him:

  1. Youngest member of Kenya’s 11th Parliament
  2. He didn’t come from ‘money’. Reading his story on Kenyan Life, you see a leader who comes from a humble background (forget the fact the term is a cliché where everybody seems to use it to show how self-made they are).

Time will tell whether the honorable member will leave a legacy to be remembered.


As a political leader, they all make pre-election promises but as soon as they are officially declared the winner, they quickly forget what they had promised. Perfect case of a carrot-stick-and-the-donkey. The rider dangles the carrot in front of the stubborn donkey and as hard as the animal tries to nip at the dangling carrot, it never reaches it; the donkey gets the rider to the destination but may never get the carrot. Similarly, I feel like politicians take the people for a ride; like the donkey.

16th Feb 2016

As a leader, I know the many things I can promise to do but if am to be honest with myself, I never always deliver. So I found out one solution from one of my mentors. Find one thing you can do and do it well…excel at it! Though I feel he might have borrowed from Liza Deyrmenjian , a Forbes Magazine contributor.

History will judge you harshly as a leader for not doing what you supposed to do. Whether you will STAND for the truth or LOOK the other way – see no evil, do no evil. Either way you will be remembered for something.

Please let me know what you think. Leave a comment.

© Caleb Bett and Memoirs of a patriotic Kenyan blog, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Caleb Bett and Memoirs of a patriotic Kenyan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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