In Summary
  • There is a need for Kenyan professionals to assess the role they can play to enhance the enforcement of integrity and ethics at the workplace.
  • Eight years after the promulgation of the Constitution, we are still plagued by the same issues which these constitutional provisions sought to fix.

A story is told of an ancient Chinese emperor who needed to choose a successor but did not have a child.

Thousands of children from across the kingdom were gathered at the palace, where he announced that his successor would be picked from among them. Each child was given a seed and told to go back to their village, plant it in a pot and tend it for a year. They would return and the emperor would evaluate their efforts.

After a year, the children returned with impressive plants in their pots — apart from one boy, who, despite having religiously tended to his seed, came with an empty pot. After inspecting the work of the children, the emperor singled out the empty pot and the boy.

He then said: “A year ago, I gave each one of you a seed. I told you to go and plant the seed and return with your plant. The seeds that I gave you were boiled until they were no longer viable and wouldn’t grow but I see before me thousands of plants and one barren pot.

“Integrity and courage are more important values for leadership than proud displays.”

EMPTY POT

And so, the boy who returned with an empty pot was chosen.

The drafters of the 2010 Constitution found it prudent to expressly include a chapter on leadership and integrity with the aim of laying a legal basis for the entrenchment of the virtues. They went on to establish an article on national values and principles of governance.

An exhaustive evaluation reveals that these two provisions of the Constitution are related, intertwined and almost inseparable.

They offer a well-thought out guide on how the nation ought to approach leadership and governance issues in a bid to have a cohesive country that is led by certain principles.

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