Great Kenya Leaders
Student’s Name
Institutional Affiliation


Table of contents ……………………………………………………….…….. 2
Introduction ……………………………………………………………….….. 3
Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi …………………………………………………… 3
Robertson William Collymore ……………………………………….……….. 4
Mwai Kibaki ………………………………………………………….………. 7
Raila Amolo Odinga …………………………………………………….……. 8
Comparison of Leadership Traits ……………………………………….……. 9
Conclusion …………………………………………………………….……… 11
References …………………………………………………………….……… 13

Effective leadership is critical to the success of both public and private institutions.Employing effective leadership with experience is important to all organizations (Hughes,1993; Argyris, & Argyris, 1976). Like other countries, Kenya has seen a rise of great leaders. These personalities have portrayed leadership skills in various positions they held in the country. Despite their differences, they have demonstrated their ability to lead their followers toward achieving a particular vision. Through their involvement in political, public, and private sectors, they have made a mark on different aspects of leadership. This paper will discuss some of the great leaders in Kenya and analyze what the leaders had in common in their leadership.
Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi was the second president of Kenya. He ruled Kenya for 24 years from 1978 to 2002. Moi is one of the self-made leaders in Kenya (Morton, 1998). Rising from a humble family in Baringo, he went through Kapsabet High School and Tambach Teacher Training College. He became a teacher from 1946 up to 1955, where he first joined politics and was elected as a member of the rift valley legislative council. The election into the parliamentary committee marked his foundation in the political arena. When Kenya gained independence in 1963, Moi had formed the Kenya African democratic union (KADU) together with Ronald Ngala. After independence, he was convinced by Kenyatta, the first president to Kenya, to dissolve their party and join the KANU party as a sign of complete decolonization. They agreed, and he was later appointed as the vice president under Kenyatta’s presidency. When Kenyatta died in 1978, Moi was then declared president uncontested. He ruled Kenya for 24 years up to 2002, where Mwai Kibaki succeeded him.
Throughout his leadership, Moi was a soft-spoken man who ruled with dignity and utmost precision. He adopted some of the leadership styles from his predecessor, which gave him the name Nyayo (Wolf, 2006). He was popular in the country and could visit every part of the country, unlike Kenyatta, who ruled under closed doors (Morton, 1998). During his leadership, he faced many challenges imposed on him by the fellow leaders who were dissatisfied with his leadership style. To safeguard his position as the head of state, he adopted a single-party rule. The rule enabled him to rule for long. He also would jail and torture any leader who would publicly mock his leadership style (Ochieng, 2003) After leaving office as president, Moi has had many appointments. He was not only a president, but he also is up to date, the vice counselor of the kabarak university. He also led the peace mission in South Sudan in 2006. He was appointed to the office by the then Kenyan president, Mwai Kibaki. Kibaki confessed to giving Moi the appointment due to his leadership skills and experience (Ochieng, 2003). Also, Moi took part in the discussion of the way forward on the constitution after the referendum in 2005. His leadership skills have enabled him to gain the aforementioned appointments and leadership positions. To date, he is the most trusted man for advice on political issues by all the Kenyan political leaders (Ochieng, 2003)
Robertson William Collymore, popularly known as Bob Collymore, is a famous figure in the Kenya and other East African countries. Born in Guyana and raised by his grandmother, managed to move against all odds to become the CEO of the most successful telecommunication company in the east and central Africa. His leadership skills saw him rise through the ranks from a mere office worker to a CEO. To his death in 2019, Bob was the CEO of Safaricom. His legacy will be remembered as the man who came to the rescue of a company that had registered high losses to become the most profitable company in East Africa.
Bob’s life started in Guyana under the guardianship of his grandmother. He was passionate about his childhood dream of becoming a painter, and through his creativity, he started earning his income at the age of 12 years (Pinecrest, 2019). Bob would mold different objects and sale them to people at a fee. He attended his elementary school in Guyana. At the age of 16, bob shifted to the United Kingdom to live with his mother. In the UK, he attended high school and secured a place in the university. Though he had secured a position in a good university in the UK, he was not eligible for funding and therefore did not manage to secure admission. At the time, he went back to his childhood dream of becoming a painter, something his mother was furious about. His mother wanted him to secure a decent job (the star news). Through his mother’s efforts, he managed to secure a job as an entry-level clerical officer at British Telecom. The role marked the start of his career in the telecommunication sector.
Collymore rose through the ranks from a clerical officer to a handset strategy manager at Cellnet. In 1994, he joined the Dixons store group as the purchasing director. In 1998, he joined the Vodafone (UK) and worked as the handset purchasing director for two years. After the two successful years in that post, bob was promoted as the global handset purchasing director from 2000 to 2003. In 2003 to 2006, he worked in Asia, specifically Japan, in the merging of the j-phone with the Vodafone Company as well as the Marketing Director. After serving this post, Bob was appointed the governance director at Vodafone Africa, which made him become the chief officer for corporate affairs at Vodacom. The director post was the last job he held before his appointment as the CEO Safaricom, a position that he held till his demise in 2019.
As a CEO at Safaricom, Bob managed to restructure the company and increase its shares to almost Ksh 28 from the first Ksh 5. He was handed the company at a time it was recording a declining trend in its profits. But through his vast experience in management and telecommunication companies, Bob managed to record an increase in earnings in the first year of his leadership. He oversaw the introduction of various products at Safaricom, among them M-pesa, which is currently the cash cow of the company. M-pesa involves mobile money transfer systems that enable individuals to transact money through handsets to various destinations. He also introduced the Safaricom foundation.
Apart from working as the CEO at Safaricom, Bob was also appointed in various committees and commissions. He served as a member at the United Nations global compact board. The organization was a nonprofit organization aimed at improving the way people do business for a better life. He also served as a member of the Kenya vision 2030 board. Also, he was a trustee and the chairperson of the national roads safety trust. He also served on the United Nations commission on life-saving commodities for women and children. All these appointments were given to him because he portrayed the ability to lead. His humble background made him humble and gave him a reason to work hard to rise through the ranks. During his tenure in Kenya, he was honored with three awards. The Moran of the order of the burning spear was given to him by the retired Kenyan president, Mwai Kibaki, in 2012. Also, in 2016, he was awarded the international business leader by the African investors. Finally, in 2017, he was awarded the CEO of the year by the African investor. He was a hard-working man from his childhood, and he maintained this trait till his death.
Bob never believed in impossible. At an interview by the standard digital media, Bob revealed that for you to be a great leader and come out victorious, you should identify your purpose and work towards attaining it. He believed that one is never an island and at some point, accepted people to manage him. Investing in the people you have an understanding of what they want was his core priority. He learned the art of listening to create a welcoming environment for everyone. These traits made him approachable and successful in his work.
Mwai Kibaki is another iconic leader in Kenya. He was the successor of Daniel Moi as president. His leadership climax was marked by the introduction of the Kenyan new constitution of 2010. Having served in several government offices, including serving as a vice president during the Moi regime,he had gathered experience in leadership and had no problem running the government as a president (Walsh, 2002).More so, Kibaki holds a vast knowledge in economics. Therefore, planning for the country was not a big deal putting in mind that he understood the economic forces and how to make things work for aneconomy. Many ups and downs marked his early life as a son of a peasant. After joining school, he emerged to be the best in class. Apart from studies, he engaged in carpentry and farming as a requirement by the school and made his first income through working as a matatu tout after school. Kibaki studied economics, history, and political science. After his education, he worked as a lecturer at the Makerere University and assistant sales manager of the shell company Uganda division.
Kibaki was a crucial low leader who led with a reasonable degree of intelligence and competence. As the president of the Kenyan Republic, Kibaki changed the political arena by becoming the first president to give freedom to the media, open up free public opinion, and rapid economic development. Through his experience as a minister and a vice president for ten years, during the Moi regime, he gained experience in running the affairs of the state. He was alsoa professor of economics, a skill that helped him improve several economic aspects of the country during his tenure. Though he was faced with many challenges during his administration, Kibaki completed his presidency term as a renowned pioneer of several projects that have seen Kenya become one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.
Some of his achievements as a leader include, the new constitution of 2010, the Thika superhighway, introduction of free primary education, vision 2030, Konza City, and the opening of the constitutional development funds which would devolve development funds to the grass-root level, among others. During his reign, he emphasized on equity and transparency. He exposed some of the big scandals, including the Goldenberg, which had embezzled millions of taxpayers’ money. He also gave the media freedom and could air their contents without fear of being arrested. His name is remembered for his unfettered demonstration of greatness in leadership.
Raila Amolo Odinga, is one of the famous names in Kenya. Born from a leadership family of the first Kenyan vice president, Raila managed to survive in the political arena for the longest time in history (Odinga, 2013). Apart from being a political leader, Raila has also served in several offices, including being a lecturer at the University of Nairobi. He has served as the Member of Parliament for Kibra for 20 years as well as the Prime Minister of Kenya during the grand coalition government. Apart from his leadership role in politics, Raila is currently an AU special envoy for infrastructure. The position was given to him after displaying great leadership qualities over his lifetime.
Odinga is a fearless leader who, at some point, could risk his life for the people. Rough paths characterize his leadership life. He has been the leader of opposition for a long time since he joined politics. In all his endeavors, he admired Kenya that is free from corruption and bad leadership. He fought for the multiparty until it was a reality. After supporting Kibaki, he fought against the proposed constitution that was termed as oppressive to the ordinary citizen (Diangá, 2002). Odinga is a passionate leader who would stop at nothing to achieve an appositive goal for his subjects. He was at the central pillar during the Uhuru Kenyatta government in exposing the corruption and unethical leadership cartels in the government.
*Comparison of the leader’s leadership traits*
Analyzing the early life of the great leaders in Kenya, apart from Raila Odinga , who is a sons of the first vice president of Kenya, all the other leaders have emerged from a humble background. Taking a close look at Kibaki’s life and Bob Collymore. They were all taken care of by guardians when they were young and struggled at a young age to earn a living. Kibaki engaged in farming while Collymore used art to earn his first dollars. Moi struggled from a mare P1 teacher to a president. He is a self-made political who rose against all the odds to become the president of Kenya.
A successful leader understands what his subjects need and works towards its provision. The leaders discussed above all portrayed this character through their service provision. For instance, in an interview with the star, Bob Collymore stated that the only way one can make it in business is through creativity and innovativeness and understanding you market and what it needs. As an economist, Mwai Kibaki had all the information on his fingertips to enable him develop the economy of the country. He had knowledge in both political science and economics. Therefore, the knowledge enabled him rule the country in peace as well as set strategies for economic development. Therefore, the key to organizational leadership is patients and making a depper analysis of the subject or market before taking a step.
The nature of leadership portrayed by all the above leaders is characterized by integrity and purpose. The leaders have shown a collective will to serve at their capacity and deliver to maximum potential. Though they have all been faced with major setbacks during their tenure, they never gave up and worked towards the attainment of their purpose. For instance, Kibaki aimed to see Kenya acquire a new constitution and become one of the fastest-growing economies. Amid all the opposition posed to this goal, he toiled fearlessly until he managed to give the country a new constitution in 2010 and managed to raise the country’s GDP to 5% after the post-election violence (Britannica, T. E. of E.). On the other hand, Raila Has been fighting for the multiparty during the reign of Daniel Moi as the president of Kenya. His primary purpose was to see a country that has freedom in the electoral body, and citizens are given a chance to choose leaders of their choice. Though he was faced with many challenges, including being detained for more than ten years, Raila never seized to fight for his course until 1992, during which the multiparty system was introduced in Kenya.
Leadership requires making hard decisions that have a long-term benefit to your subjects. This is a quality that has been portrayed by all the above leaders. For instance, the former Safaricom boss, Bob Collymore took leadership from a company that was at the brinks of collapse. He saw the potentials in the company, and through his strategies, he managed to transform Safaricom into the most profitable company in East Africa. Kibaki changed the country form a 1.6% GDP to 7% (Britannica, T. E. of E. (n.d.)). Through his decision to introduce economic reforms and open up the Kenya economy, more investors jetted into the country, and the economy saw its first rapid growth since independence. He also took the hardest decision of introducing free primary education. Critics said that it could increase the cost of living, but Kibaki went for it. Up to date, the open primary school has enabled Kenya to attain the necessary education standards, especially regarding basic literacy. Raila Odinga, on the other hand, always fought for a new constitution that devolved the government functions to the grassroots level. Through many years of continuous struggle, the constitution was unveiled in 2010. Critics claimed that a devolved government would not be practical and in turn, increase the government wage bill. On the contrary, development unearthed in many counties through devolution.
We cannot wholly define leaders without analyzing their accomplishments for the society they served. A leader comes up with new ideas and ways of doing things that turn to be beneficial to the community. All the above-discussed leaders have shown the ability to solve problems about the citizens as well as leadership. A great leader should have the interest of the community and subjects at heart. Taking an example of Bob Collymore, through the initiative he introduced to Safaricom, bob has managed to transform the society to greater heights. For instance, the Safaricom Foundation has helped students to access quality education. The Foundation has also helped small and medium business enterprises to achieve expansion through training and funding.
The argument on whether leaders are born or made can arise through this argument. Some leaders emerge from “grass to grace” without any close person to hold their hands. Others found themselves in families surrounded by great leaders and hence had a stepping stone for leadership. Nevertheless, for one to portray effective leadership, they must have the ability to lead. You can be taught how to be a leader, but you can never explain how to be an effective leader. The leadership characters portrayed by the discussed leaders are a testimony to the fact that a leader is born.
The paper outlined leadership traits form some of the top personalities in Kenya. The discussed personalities are Daniel Moi, the second president of the republic of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, the third president of the republic of Kenya, the late Bob Collymore, was the CEO of safaricom, the giant telecommunication company in east Africa, and finally, Raila Amolo Odinga, former prime-minister during the grand coalition government. A comparison of their leadership traits was then drawn at the end of the paper. Most of the leaders have been found to poses similar leadership traits. They all have worked hard for their rise through the ranks to the positions they currently hold. Some of their similarities include, most of them started working hard at a tender age. The paper has show that, for one to become a leader, you just be ready to work for it. In leadershing, nothing comes on a sliver plate. The paper has revealed that patience is essential in leadership. Waiting for the right time but working hard to attain the goal.

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