In Summary
  • He earns plaudits for making a big impact in an area where Kenya has the biggest deficit — integrity in leadership.
  • He sent shock waves through the banking industry by suggesting criminal proceedings against CEOs of banks that failed to report suspicious transactions relating to scandals like the National Youth Service ones.

Dr Patrick Njoroge, who has just been reappointed to serve as Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya for another four-year term, is a man devoid of ego and instinctively averse to self-advertisement.

His tenure at the CBK is an engaging story about the impact of personality in an office.

Indeed, the main reason his reign has captured the imagination of the public is not what he achieved on the monetary policy front — such as low and steady inflation, stable exchange rate or relative stability of the banking. It is about integrity and character in public leadership.

Many did not agree with him when, at his parliamentary nomination hearings, he spoke against policy-led consolidation of banks and for market-led reforms.

His critics may have had the laugh after the government recently ordered Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) to merge with the troubled National Bank of Kenya. The merger of the State-owned banks arose out of government policy.

INTEREST CAP

Then there was this time when a number of experts disagreed following the approval by Parliament of the interest rate capping law in 2015.

Governor Njoroge chose the policy rate (the Central Bank Rate) instead of the Kenya Bankers Reference (KBRR) as the basis for calculating the cap.

The collapse of three banks in a row — Dubai Bank, Imperial Bank and Chase Bank — also presented a major challenge to his stewardship, with critics charging that the Central Bank had displayed little capacity in managing and resolving such crises.

It was argued that, while Dr Njoroge’s regime had always scored highly on conduct of monetary policy, it had not done a good job at managing problem banks and protecting the depositors’ interests.

Last year, he sent shock waves through the banking industry by suggesting criminal proceedings against CEOs of banks that failed to report suspicious transactions relating to scandals like the National Youth Service ones.

INTEGRITY

Nonetheless, while one can dispute the substance of some of the moves and decisions Dr Njoroge has made, he earns plaudits for making a big impact in an area where Kenya has the biggest deficit — integrity in leadership.

It is the character he brought into public leadership and management of the nerve centre of the country’s financial system that has earned him public admiration and trust.

Dr Njoroge stands out. His style and integrity brings freshness when viewed against a backdrop where public life and leadership is dominated by self-absorbed elites engaged in blind pursuit of corruptly acquired wealth and opulent lifestyles.

Indeed, our leadership values have degenerated to levels where, while it needs no courage to do the wrong thing, it needs a lot more courage to do the right thing.

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