The presidency is obviously a very political office and those who contest for it often have to possess consummate political skills.
But importantly, it is a very administrative and strategic office which demands great managerial skills, insightful foresight, incredible experience and organizational capability.
In that sense there are a number of Kenyans who are non-political, yet but possess the salient skills necessary to turn our country around, if only they would be given a chance. They are experienced in their area of expertise, are adept, are an intellectual force and have the sermonizing, and sometimes radical ideas that would make them great presidents, if Kenyans knew what is good for them.
Here is a biased collection.
- George Magoha.
By far the most qualified non-political presidential candidate Kenya has ever had. He is a urologist by training and profession. He is the immediate former vice chancellor of University of Nairobi (2004-2015). Magoha has been the Chairman of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB, Kenya Association of Urological Surgeons (KAUS) and often described as a keen listener with an incredible capacity to pick the pulse of those he’s leading. His stint at the helm of the University of Nairobi turned around the university making it a truly global learning institution. He improved the infrastructure; the university increased its intake and the revenue collection was at an all-time high. In a University where the ethnic tensions along the Jubilee-NASA lines are always rife, Magoha, unusually managed to run the university peacefully, satiating the needs of both parties, without any quarrel or grumbling from either side. It was during his term that the university enjoyed orderliness and stability.
Since he quit, he took charge of our national examinations’ body KNEC, sanitizing what had become a thoroughly corrupt, badly compromised body into an efficient, reliable examinations’ body. He has reduced the rampant examination cheating to negligible levels.
- David Ndii
This household name is a thinker with no peer. He considers himself a public intellectual. Ndii, an economist has been the economic advisor to the official opposition leader, Raila Odinga. He is ranked 30th among the list of most influential economists in the world.
Ndii undertook his master's and doctorate degrees in Economics at Oxford before taking high profile jobs at World Bank, The Rwandan Government and Equity Bank and at the University of Nairobi. He is a Rhodes Scholar and Eisenhower fellow and is currently the Managing Director of the consulting firm, Africa Economics.
He has written in the Kenyan dailies since the 1990s, mostly warning on the dangers of neo-liberalism, the crippling effects of corruptions and the hubris of crass materialism that pervades our country.
2. Dr Wandia Njoya
Brilliant, simply doesn’t cut it. Wandia, an alumnus of the Pennsylvania State University (2007, PhD French) and Kenyatta University (2000, MA French,), she’s been one of the biggest voices speaking out against neoliberalism and its foray into the education and health sectors. Wandia, a leading voice in the academia is also one of the founding partners of the erudite online platform, thelephant.info alongside Githongo John. Dr. Njoya is a vocal force, in trying to create an ideological project that will undergird the commercial interests and pursuits of the country. She no doubt is one of the most recognizable voices in Kenya’s intellectual space and potentially the leading female presidential candidate;
If only we voted differently beyond ethnicity and theatricalities.
3. Lukoye Atwoli
Atwoli, an MBChB (Moi), MMed Psych (Nbi), PhD (UCT) Associate Professor of Psychiatry Dean, School of Medicine, Moi University College of Health Sciences tends to largely limits his analysis to healthcare, no doubt, given his background. However, in recent years he’s continued to expand the scope of his analysis especially on the social ills and cures to our mental health epidemic, the place of religion in a nation’s ideological aspiration and the socialization of medicine and medical interventions. As the Dean, Moi University School of Medicine, Lukoye has proven to be both an institutional man yet also a public spirited soul with the capacity and organizational ability to rally others around a course. We’ve relegated him to a column on a local daily, appallingly.
4. Apollo Mboya
The #SwitchOffKPLC and the class action suit against the power cartels has made him a household name but Mboya has been a perennial face in politics, judicial activism, public discourse, and governance issues. He has been a Legal Specialist with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), a State Counsel, the CEO of Law Society of Kenya and the Joint Secretary for the Task Force on Judicial Reforms in Kenya. As the electricity issue spirals out of control and the faceless criminal and robber barons behind the heist fight back, Apollo’s grit, legal dexterity and brevity has continued to shine spotlight on his public leadership. He clearly has an eye and a heart for the public soul, yet one wonders why we wouldn’t consider him a presidential candidate.
5. Ory Okolloh Mwangi
Ory is part of the Omidyar Network, a social initiative funding program and also the founder of Mzalendo and Ushahidi platforms. She attended the The University of Pittsburgh and an alumnus of Harvard Law School. She has served on the Board of Thomson Reuters Founders. She is a a critical voice in Kenya’s public discourse, Ory projects the kind of critical understanding needed on public policy issues and the macrofactors that shape the current governance and political spheres in the country.
6. Yvonne Owuor
An author, scholar and one of the most generative intellectuals of our time. Yvonne ideates about the future. Her global perspectives on the underside consciousness of the society is brilliant. Or a country that still trying to overcome its colonial baggage and hasn’t figured out its place within the modern evolving global geopolitical realignments. Yvonne would be our version of Frantz Fanon, whose prophetic and literary vision can chat the nation’s path into a renewed geostrategic force.
7. Frederick Oluga
Some leaders exist right for their time and Oluga, a medic and the Secretary-General as well as the CEO of the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists & Dentists’ Union (KMPDU).
He has proved to be an adept captain in the stormy ship that is KMDPU, and has to lead a revolutionary industrial action, that, if their demands are to be met, can see Kenyans have one of the best and most affordable healthcare systems in the world.
He is articulate and his leftist philosophical leaning is in line with a country that has totally sold its where nothing is too sacred it can’t be stolen. In his capacity as the alternative voice, Oluga acts as one of the possible left-leaning political voices in a country that has for decades leaned right in its policies and economic planning.
8. Wachira Maina
This Constitutional Law and Governance expert often bring with him such a depth of understanding of the political and regional issues with such clarity in all its complexity. Maina, a long time human rights icon would make for a great presidential material and will steer our young constitution into delivering its best intended results.
9. Abbas Gullet
Having worked for 11-years as a volunteer at Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) before being absorbed Gullet has consistently displayed incredible organizational ability and visionary leadership, the kind that is clearly lacking in both political and non-political leadership in this country. Now as the Secretary General of an organisation, he’s in charge of the 64 local branches and eight regional offices, all coordinated from the Nairobi office. His task of providing disaster response services across the country relies on 600 employees and over 80,000 volunteers as well as a fleet size of 130 vehicles. Often, they stand in for the government, reminding us of the dangers of charity and philanthropy: it can make the government forsake its duties.
10. Muhkisa Kituyi
Kituyi was once a political figure even securing the Member of Parliament seat in 1992 under Ford-Kenya and got re-elected in 1997 and 2002. However, he would later stray away from political leadership as he took up the headship of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD in September 2013 as the secretary general. Prior to that Kituyi had served as the Chief Executive of the Kenya Institute of Governance as well as Kenya's Minister of Trade and Industry from 2002 to 2007 and his tenure at the Ministry and even at UNCTAD are considered as remarkable.
The straight-talking, extremely smart and intellectual left-leaning politician has the ability to transform Kenya in the mould of Kibaki’s earlier years.
11. Olive Mugenda
In her tenure as the Vice Chancellor of Kenyatta University, Kenya’s no.2 university, she grew and transformed the university into a metropolis, giving the university the requisite infrastructure to make the learning environment ideal.
She was a visionary, despite what the detractors have said, and the corruption allegations notwithstanding. Her expansion of the university was a very necessary part of institutional growth.
If she is our president and she takes a similar approach, she will transform the country into a truly middle-income status, creating jobs and the best environment for business.