What Obama’s Homecoming Means for Kenya [opinion]

Let’s face it. US President Barack Obama has achieved remarkable odds. He has undergone various trials and challenges, and in it all, he has become a world icon, and so to speak, a centre of gravity upon which the world revolves. As he has perfectly stated, he was the skinny kid with a queer name and accent. In the current world, there is no leader who has quite the glamour and glimmer of hope as Obama presents. Put simply, he has quite a bit of every part of the world in him.

And yet, we must remember his journey to the top has not been without challenges. First of all, he grew up without a father. He was taken care of by several foster parents, and has been raised in several regions of the world.

What then we must ask ourselves is what we are doing to cultivate a culture of leadership that will nurture more Obamas. Let’s remember that a country is only as good as the leaders who govern it. If we elect leaders who are not gifted and do not have the foresight of vision, then we end up as a country that underperforms despite our potential.

It must be noted President Uhuru Kenyatta is richer than Obama, and yet, Obama leads the most powerful nation on earth. As a country then, have we become so materialistic that we often end up forsaking good leaders who are not that rich in material resources?

Even then, leaders such as Obama do not come very often. Leaders, who galvanize not just their countries, but the whole world, are indeed rare. We have Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, to name just but a few. In such leaders, we see the capacity of human beings to rally around leaders who bring hope rather than despair, leaders who bring unity rather than division, and leaders who see the best in everyone, despite our flaws and limitations.

Of course, each of these leaders has their flaws. But for now, let as savour this moment, when Kenya’s very best export is coming back home, and let this moment teach us what a great future and potential Kenya has if only we can fix its ills.