Enterprise

How Kibaki kickstarted my journey in business

KIBAKI

Deceased Former President Mwai Kibaki. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • President Kibaki made us believe that many things that we thought we impossible were actually possible.
  • How Mr Kibaki managed to create an environment where many willing Kenyans could enroll in school free of charge, start a business, invest and make money in the stock market, access low-interest loans from banks and so on was a mystery.
  • One of the greatest lessons I have learned from the leadership of Kibaki is that to succeed you must work hard, you must hire the right people and empower them.

As we take a break from politics, crying over the increasing cost of living and daily hustles to pay tribute to former President Mwai Kibaki who passed on last week, it is evident that he was a transformative leader.

This is manifested in the outpouring of glowing tributes from Kenyans of all walks of life for his impeccable leadership skills.

We remember Mr Kibaki as a steadfast and selfless politician with easy demeanor and a characteristic sense of humor that illuminated the country’s political landscape during his reign.

Mr Kibaki has passed on at a time when the creeping despondency of operating in a market that shows no signs of returning to buoyant times that we witnessed when he ascended to power is weighing heavily with the business community.

For most Kenyans in business and leadership today, this is the first time to experience queues for fuel, shortage of dollars and basic commodities. Those are the things we used to read in the media happening in other countries.

President Kibaki made us believe that many things that we thought we impossible were actually possible. Just to mention a few, free primary education, ability to make money in stock market, easily available bank financing, real estate boom, impressible roads network, and a conducive business environment where nearly everyone is a winner.

I recall one morning when I walked into a banking hall and a smiling loan officer asked me if I wanted a loan. He looked at my account and told me I qualified for an unsecured loan of up to Sh250,000. I told him to make it Sh300,000. He causally helped me to fill in the loan form and in less than a week the money was in my account.

That marketed the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.

How Mr Kibaki managed to create an environment where many willing Kenyans could enroll in school free of charge, start a business, invest and make money in the stock market, access low-interest loans from banks and so on was a mystery.

Economists, politicians, and even religious leaders interpreted it in their own ways and understanding.

Many of us chose to enjoy the goodies and respond like the biblical blind man healed by Jesus. When Pharisees bent on discrediting approached him, he said, “I don’t know whether he is a sinner…But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”

Mr Kibaki made us believe that most of the thing we thought were impossible are possible. If he could turn around a country that had stagnated after many years of economic depression, in a harsh social-economic environment, then you too can turn around your business and life despite of challenges.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned from the leadership of Kibaki is that to succeed you must work hard, you must hire the right people and empower them.

Many attribute Mr Kibaki’s success to his sharp mind as an economist, his love for Kenya and wisdom to hire qualified technocrats rather than political cronies, as is the practice of many leaders.

Mr Kiunga is a business trainer and the author of The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market. [email protected]