And so it’s left to the world’s greatest leader to show us an alternative to mheshimiwa-ship… Imagine the setting… He has just been welcomed to the capital city by massive crowds singing his praises. His followers are delirious…
Finally, the world has recognized their candidate’s brilliance!
Finally, they are on the threshold of forming the next government!
The lobbying is intense; over dinner that evening, there is a heated discussion among the inner circle about who will be the candidate’s running mate. The candidate refuses to take sides however. He reminds them that unlike with the surrounding political establishment, true greatness is not about dominating others and amassing titles, wealth & power. And then he does the unthinkable… He wraps a towel around his waist and washes all their feet!
With this one act, Jesus of Nazareth turned the prevailing concepts of leadership upside down. And set the foundation for all great leaders since.
Why are 2400 of our fellow citizens clamoring to be MP’s? The pressure to be a mheshimiwa is great, especially when it’s accompanied by such a nice pay package
- The mheshimiwa leads by control; the mtumishi by inspiration
- The mheshimiwa uses his followers; the mtumishi gives himself up for them
- The mheshimiwa depends on her position; the mtumishi on her goodwill
- The mheshimiwa does whatever necessary to stay in power; the mtumishi doesn’t care who gets the credit as long as the job gets done
- The mheshimiwa inspires awe & fear; the mtumishi a sense of empowerment & unity
- The mheshimiwa jockeys for position; the mtumishi gives up her preferences, rights and freedoms for others
- People follow the mheshimiwa because they have to; people follow the mtumishi because they want to
Why lie, it’s easier to be a mheshimiwa! We are part of a selfish age, where it’s unthinkable that anyone aspiring to leadership would not be driven by selfish interest. And yet in the midst of all this, God is searching for men and women who will respond to the call of utumishi: Who will offer this utumishi in our homes, in our estate committees, in our churches, in our schools, in our businesses, in the media, in politics…
Our country doesn’t need more ‘waheshimiwa’. What Kenya desperately needs, is watumishi.
‘Mheshimiwa’ = a title of respect most often given to members of parliament that means ‘honorable’
‘Mtumishi’ – servant