Lucas Marang'a

A man at 40

Red Tape.

In most areas of life, I have always thought the bigger, the better. Whatever I’m looking for, if its larger, then it’s preferred. I’ve always wanted a bigger business, bigger car, bigger house and the list gets bigger and bigger. Most of us in life are in this category too. Maybe the only thing we don’t want bigger is our size. But we still want to eat bigger portions of food.

The realization (rather, reminder) that small has many benefits came last week when on assignment in Eldoret. We had an event at Eldoret Golf Club sponsored by the county government of Uasin Gishu. Eldoret has grown since the last time I was there and is well on track to being the fourth city in Kenya. If Kenyans were to be asked to vote for the next city, I would easily choose Eldoret.

The Governor of Uasin Gishu county, Jackson Mandago, attended the evening dinner ceremony on Saturday accompanied by members of his cabinet and the Governor of Elgeyo Marakwet county. Here I was chatting animatedly with two governors I had just met and felt very comfortable with. Maybe the fact that we were close in age (per my analysis) helped. I even told them I have never met my governor (clearly I need to know people in Nairobi). Yet here I was with two of them having a good time promoting sports in this part of the country. That was time well spent.

When he came up to speak to the gathering I was impressed with his knowledge of the issues facing his county and his hands-on approach in tackling them. He also introduced all his staff and their roles from the top of his mind. This may be kawa but it stood out for me. Mandago came across as those leaders who are easy and friendly but only if you are delivering on your job. He even asked his sports minister how he can be officiating at a sport he is not familiar with.

On the way out of the event, I met another two MPs loosely having tea. That got me thinking. Why does it seem much easier to meet these waheshimiwas there than it is in Nairobi? Three reasons come to mind.  One reason is obviously the ecosystem is much smaller compared to Nairobi so chances of bumping into each other are higher. Secondly it might be the open-door policy which this particular governor runs his hood by. I know I could be wrong since I spent just a little time with him, but that was my first impression. However, I do believe his age (plus personality) contribute to his being upfront with people. We (or rather the people of Uasin Gishu) shall judge by 2022 if my theory here is correct. Thirdly I might just have been at the right place at the right time.

Life with less red tape is fresher and allows for more interaction. This leads (or should lead) to improved performance and a more fulfilling life. I know we think mostly of government only when it comes to red tape but as I analyse my life, maybe I have invisible red tape that prevents me from maximising on relationships and opportunities. This could be in stereotypes that I see folks through or first impressions that I judge harshly and wrongly.

We should stand advised that we may easily miss out on good opportunities of improving our lives just because we judged a book by its cover. There is a common quote – ‘Opportunities come dressed as overalls (or work clothes).’ It is understandable why many of us use red tape as a self-protection mechanism. It’s a tough world out there. We can easily get taken advantage of, but I think we can also miss out on a lot of good meant for us.

I would like to have a huge outlook on life like the big city guy that I am, but doing life with very little red tape like an upcountry chap. Let’s cut the tape, get into the elevator to fourth floor and join the party that is life.

Friday, November 9, 2018 | Leadership, Travels |

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