Instead of tackling serious issues, we tend to dwell on irrelevancies

This column usually attempts to connect issues that are not linked in life or business. The focus on the marital status of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Central Bank of Kenya governor nominee, Dr Patrick Ngugi Njoroge, by an MPs’ vetting team is a case in point today. The issue made it to the headlines of Kenyan newspapers in addition to trending on social media and causing great debate on radio.

The nominee’s response to the MPs’ question of why he is not married was that it was by choice. The fact that MPs didn’t focus on the man’s technical credentials but on soft issues such as his single status is surprising. Let’s not blame them though; this is what we do when buying high quality brands.

Dr Patrick Ngugi Njoroge. There are many examples of prominent leaders who are single and yet exercise powerful leadership roles.
PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP


One is normally sold on the brand and hence tends to focus on irrelevant cues such as the interior design of a Mercedes Benz 7 series and its extras.

The second explanation is that the House committee had a few days earlier dismissed Dr Monica Juma, the Presidents nominee for Secretary to the Cabinet, on what many have termed as petty grounds. She had apparently written a strongly worded letter to the House protesting against MPs’ frequent visits to her Interior Ministry office with outrageous HR related requests. The MPs had no bone to pick with Dr Njoroge though, and hence they decided to have fun and pass him anyway.

Spirit of defiance

The third issue is that the nominee’s middle name is similar to writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s who was recently in Kenya. In the 1970s Prof Ngugi wrote a play titled, Ngahika Ndeenda, which was later translated into English and titled I Will Marry When I Want. Apart from the author being the namesake to the nominee, the play was based on the idea of marriage by choice.

Some social media commentators quoted an old Kikuyu song, which echoes this spirit of defiance and independence. Others linked Dr Njoroge’s independence of thought on matters marital to the strict Catholic school that he attended.

The fourth issue relates to the many situations where being married provides a man with a traditional leadership roles. However, there are many examples of prominent leaders who are single and yet exercise powerful leadership roles. The final issue is the link between marriage and the economy which Market Talk has highlighted in the past. The book Spousoeconomics equates every marriage to a little economy with scarce resources, tough compromises to be made and unavoidable booms and busts.

It highlights how marital issues are driven by supply and demand; be it dirty dishes, sex, mortgages, working late or in-laws. Indeed, most things in life are interconnected.

My congratulations go to the governor-in-waiting, may shillings be plenty during your era.

In summary,The fact that MPs didn’t focus on the man’s technical credentials but on soft issues such as his single status is surprising. Let’s not blame them though; this is what we do when buying high quality brands.

The writer is the marketing director of SBO Research. E-mail: bngahu@sboresearch.co.ke, Twitter @bngahu

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