Role of Transformative Leadership in Public Sector Reforms in Kenya
As part of its mandate to engage with stakeholders and exchange policy dialogues, KIPPRA, in collaboration with African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), brought together stakeholders in various sectors of the public service to deliberate on issues around transformative leadership in public sector reforms.
Themed the ‘role of transformative leadership in public sector reforms in Kenya’, the national workshop, which was held in Nairobi on 14th December 2017, brought together participants from the Public Service Commission, Vision 2030 Secretariat, Kenya School of Government, University of Nairobi among others.
After welcoming guests, KIPPRA Executive Director Dr Rose Ngugi pointed out some of the concerns when it comes to transformative leadership in the public service. They include whether the public sector had already achieved transformation; whether institutions had the capacity to coordinate the national development agenda; whether leaders understood the priorities of the public and whether the public knew the development agenda; how leaders can strike a balance between economic, political and social interests and how to sustain the momentum of the reform agenda.
Representing Prof Margret Kobia, Chairperson, Public Service Commission was Mr Daniel Oluoch, who pointed out the centrality of transformative leadership in the attainment of Vision 2030 as well as Africa’s development agenda, Vision 2063.
KIPPRA researcher Hannah Wang’ombe gave an overview of transformative leadership in the public-sector reform process in Kenya, highlighting the progress made since independence as well as pointing out some of the key drivers of the transformation. Ms Wang’ombe also pointed out some of the challenges in the transformation process including the absence of strong institutions that allow for entrenchment of the vision and mission as well as the systematic continuity of reforms.
Representing the Director General of the Vision 2030 Secretariat was Dr Tim Kiruhi of International Leadership Foundation, who highlighted the role of transformative leadership in the delivery of Kenya’s development agenda.
To address the importance of institutionalizing leadership and values in the public service was Mr Patrick Gachagua from the Kenya School of Government. Mr Daniel Otuoma from the Directorate of Public Service Transformation addressed the institutionalization of results based management while Dr Elijah Achoch from the Public Service Transformation Division (PSTD) in the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs discussed the challenges of transformative leadership in implementing public sector reforms as well as the way forward.
Dr Achoch named some of the pillars of transformative leadership including charismatic vision and leadership, empathetic communication, creation of confidence and trust, innovation and creativity, continuous improvement and increased individual output.
Among the key highlights of the workshop was the fact that: A lot of progress had so far been made towards transforming the public sector; that transformative leadership must be linked to service delivery to ensure improvement of the quality of lives and not just effectiveness and efficiency; entrenching transformative leadership in public sector is not an event but a process to change issues of negatively affecting service delivery, which in turn ensures creation of a sense of ownership and entrenchment of national values to achieve the development agenda; the constitution is key in forming the solid foundation on transformative leadership in Kenya and that the reform agenda can be embraced from different angels including through coordination, partnerships of institutions and understanding the key driver institutions.