By Ali Abdi
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This is a line from a letter written by Lord Acton to Bishop Creighton in a series of dispatches concerning the moral problem of writing a history about the Inquisition. Lord Acton believes that the same moral should be applied to all men, political and religious leaders included.
Integrity is core in the pursuit of good governance and has for a long time been the missing link. In recent years the public has called on leaders to uphold integrity in their dealings and many have pushed for a change in the quality and ethical standards of leadership. Chapter six of the Constitution on integrity and leadership is regarded as a consolidation of efforts that went into that struggle. The Constitution clearly outlines the right conduct for leaders and those that occupy state offices making special requirements for them to embody the spirit and values of the new Constitution and conduct themselves with integrity. When leaders conduct themselves unethically, it would beat logic on how they actually managed to get into power. Besides an election, which has in recent years proved to be an inadequate measure to get the right people into deserving positions, is there another way we could vet individuals before they are given public office? or we just give the office to any mad person because we think they can lead us?
Isiolo County Assembly has turned up to be in a mess, an assembly of the mad where fistfights and zero oversight is the hallmark. The Assembly appears to be led by one person who runs the show and micromanages the house like he will be there forever. Isiolo County speaker appears to have forgotten that he is holding a public office and needs to run the office with decorum if at all he understands the intrigues of good leadership. The man who at some point was a strong contender for the top seat decided to squash his ambitions and backed his rival and many renamed him, ‘the project’. He might have stood a chance if he went ahead with his ambition, but Hussein Golicha went all out against his reputation and the ideals. A controversial fella, Hussein Golicha was picked to head the County Assembly as a Speaker and that is where his incompetence and lack of ethics began showing. With a heavy dose of tantrums and endless scandals, the current speaker turned the assembly into a private entity.
Confusion in the Assembly
Since his appointment Isiolo County Assembly has turned up to be a rubber stamp for the executive and the speaker has been doing all that is within his means to ensure that no opposing voice arises from the chambers. The confusions surrounding the Assembly has reached its pic and political theatrics by the Speaker has made the chamber look more like an avenue where vengeance and political scores are set. The Speaker has become the maestro of an orchestra that is focused on divisions and zero focus on the real work of legislation and oversight. The number of confrontations and fights at the Assembly is a record higher than the number of bills approved in just under two years. During the State of the County Address by the Governor, the County Assembly Speaker decided to stop Senator Fatuma Dullo from attending the event. The Senator is an elected representative who has a constitutional right to attend any function and the Speaker has no powers to stop anyone. His action has shocked those unknown to him but to his close confidants and those who closely work with him, it was yet another of his ill-thought and preposterous theatrics. It shames to note that his madness has no method.
Few weeks ago, the speaker threw out of the Assembly two Members of the Assembly for simply questioning his rulings. Charri MCA Hon. Ali Dima and Sericho MCA Hon. Nura Diba were forced out of the chambers in one of the most pathetic and bizarre ruling by a speaker who struggles to get grips on House rulings and protocol. It was an utter shock to learn that Golicha believes everybody needs to bow to him. The two have endured humiliation at the hands of the speaker for quite a long time and the incident was simply a culmination of his despotic ways of doing things, his complete lack of integrity and disdain for ethics and objectivity. I don’t want to look at his action on the basis of its legality or lack thereof but simply on its moral bearing because I believe at all times leaders should be guided by ethics and respect for the office they occupy. It was once said that power reveals the monster in men and the speaker is a true reflection of this. Was he morally right to do what he did? Are his actions justifiable based on the ethical standards of integrity set by the constitution?
The speaker’s action seems to receive a blessing from somewhere and that is true going by the fact that nobody appears to be questioning anything he is doing. His actions are enough for him to be removed from office but nobody can do that because he seems to get protection and the dirty politics, he is playing appears to be the main reason he was given the position. The speaker is untouchable and nobody is bothered about removing him from office because we have created a society that crowns their power-hungry people, applauds them and gives them the platform to triumph. Hussein Golicha is a punishment to us for voting for incompetence and for allowing mediocre leaders to govern us and as long as we will accept to sell our votes for petty cash then we won’t ever get the right leaders. But, more often bad leaders destroy themselves and at some point, people’s eyes get open.
In the powerful words of Acton, I feel more often, holders of power get a little drunk with power and they forget that it might not really last forever. One former mayor of a city was invited to speak at the inauguration ceremony of his successor and this is what he had to say, “Last year when I came to this function I entered through the main gate and my way was cleared for me and I had reserved parking. When I entered, I had a sit with my name on it and I was served and everybody wanted to sit next to me and talk to me. However, when I came this year I had to struggle to pass through the crowd of cars and I had no parking reserved for me. Once I entered the hall nobody bothered to offer me anything to drink and everybody was trying their best to avoid me.” He posed a little and said, “I have not changed, my name and lineage is still the same but I don’t hold the position I used to hold.” The speaker should know that it is not him but the position he occupies, he is not the first speaker and neither will he be the last. My last piece of advice to him is to remember that many power-hungry people have destroyed themselves without even realizing it and sooner his ego will get the best of him.
Ali is Sociopolitical commentator and CEO Northern Safe Space.