Hon. Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi made an impressive statement at the 2nd edition, a hybrid in-person and virtual KUSI-IDEAS conference, on the theme “Toward a PostCovid Africa: Recovering Together”, held in collaboration with the County Government of Kisumu at the lakeside city of Kisumu on December 8th, 2020.
The conference is asking tough questions such as how does PostCovid Africa looks like across a range of sectors. What will change? What can be done for those hit most or despairing, such as the youth? What opportunities for working together regionally and internationally present? What winning ideas are on offer?
Speaking on the need for the provision of strong and effective leadership able to communicate effectively and manage the crisis, Kituyi made a startling reference to the Roman emperor Nero who is considered one of history’s greatest criminals. His name has become synonymous with evil, as historic accounts have accused him of killing his stepbrother, his wife, and his mother, as well as persecuting Christians and instigating the devastating Great Fire of Rome.
Nero’s mother Agrippina was a ruthless and ambitious woman who schemed and murdered to get her son on the throne. When it finally paid off, she had no intention of fading into the background. However, five years into his reign, Nero and Agrippina became locked in a brutal power struggle. In Baiae, he plotted the murder of his own mother by inviting her as a guest of honour to a sumptuous banquet at his villa. Nero had planned for his mother’s ship to sink, and depending on historical accounts, Agrippina either died at sea or survived the incident only for Nero to send soldiers to her villa to finish the job.
The Great Fire of Rome broke out one night between July 18 and 19 in the year 64 AD. It is uncertain if it was an accident or arson; however, the fire burned for several days and nights, destroying most of the city. Rumours quickly spread that Nero started the fire to clear land for an expanded palace and that he played music in his own palace while the city burned.
There is no easy route through the COVID-19 crisis. Besides the obvious problem of selecting the correct path to take, leaders also face the monumental task of reassuring the public and persuading them to follow through on government decisions – even when measures such as social distancing – with its knock-on effect on employment – come at great personal cost. A wrong move could erode trust and unleash unrest that exacerbates the existing dangers.
Mukhisa asked if the leadership class in Africa, both political and corporate, have the required capacity to enable them to provide the appropriate response to steer our countries through the pandemic crisis….?
Food for thought!