An Appeal to Sobriety – Part Two

By Murtaza Somji,

(Nairobi, Kenya)

(Reposted from March 19th, 2010)

Steve Goodier (the Inspirational and motivational speaker) stated in one of his lectures in year 2003 that:- People do better when they are encouraged rather than criticized, condemned or judged.

Let’s start by appreciating the thought, effort and the work which has gone into our Federation over the last almost 06 years.  Let’s measure on a scale of 10, what score did the previous cabinet achieve. If they accomplished mark 6 or 7 on the scale, they should be genuinely applauded, if they have accomplished more than that; they have to be emulated and decorated with medals etc.  Before casting stones, we need to know that each one of us resides in a glass house. Let’s introspect and ask ourselves, how would we have scored were we given the same opportunity??

I strongly believe all honourable leaders have a two-faced agenda. One is to deliver the very best to the best of their capability and in doing so, achieve the ultimate pleasure of the Almighty, and the second is to leave behind a legacy to instil confidence in their successors to rise up to new challenges, to leave behind fertile grounds to sow new seeds and to partake in the glory of the challenge when they see success.  These are inherent traits which they savour when realized.

Steadfast leaders of any Country, Community, Society or Domicile are constantly under a litmus paper test which determines their worth in salt.  Inept decision-making is never an agenda on any leader’s mind.  On the Contrary, all decisions are made after a thorough homework is done, reports drawn and unanimously approved at the Committee level.  Mistakes are but an integral part of any human being, and it is through mistakes that we learn and understand that we are, but humans. Institutions are like a drawing placed on an easel, a cacophony of pencil lines drawn in abstract – barren and raw.  Placed nearby are variant hues and shades of paints, both vibrant and listless.  It is the preference of the painter to paint the picture with vibrant colours or to smear it with mute dark shades, thereby ruining the artistic aura of the picture itself.  It is but natural that all of us yearn for a vibrant colourful picture.


It will take vision, courage & dedication to the ideal of equitable transformation to shape the façade of the community.  It will take considerable consultation, planning & long-term commitment of substantial resources to turn that dream into reality.  The most important aspect is that it starts with YOU – with each one of us.

We are but a very small Community and require each other’s shoulders to carry it forward.  If we stoop to lowliness, we will be lost in the swamps of mis-trust and  self-created apathy.  We need to recognize that every person who has served the Community has served with the sole purpose of serving the Almighty. No doubt, there will be moments when miscarriage of the Agenda may occur, yet at that time we need to synergize our efforts, show solidarity and correct the situation as a block and uplift our moral standards; by advising positively not by casting aspersions and designating a person to the almost unreachable shelf marked “Regrets”.

We need to understand that perfection is attained by slow degrees, it requires the hand of Time.  We need to digest that everything cannot be achieved as soon as we utter, otherwise we will need to go to the fable castle in Arabia to look for Alladin’s lamp and rub it so that a genie appears and fixes our grouses.

It is my fervent hope that we shall mature as a Community; for the alternative is simply un-imaginable. 

Our Leadership has to cast a wider net of creating and unity, shunning austere opinions and practice the preaching. As soon as discontent raises its ugly head of delusion and despair, we need to react with exemplary speed and address the situation and diffuse the confusion surrounding it.

Our Membership has to uplift itself from the mundane to glory. Our educated brothers need to understand that inciting the public by publicly degrading authorities will only result in the decline of the Community and lack of leadership material, for no-one will want to enter an arena where stones and shoes are hurled. These are the traits of the arrogant and the ignorant and we surely are neither of those, or are we??    I wonder!!

While profusely thanking Murabbi Ramzanbhai Nanji and his OB’s for their exemplary effort and wishing the very best to the incoming cabinet of Alhaj Anwerbhai Dharamsi and his team, I request that these feelings are read in the same spirit as they have been written.  Perhaps I have erred in reading the Community ebb and flow, perhaps I have hurt some feelings, perhaps I have touched a raw nerve, whatever it may be, I beg for forgiveness from you all.

Was-salamun Alaykum Warahmatullahe Wabarakaato.

In absolute humility, I remain

About the author

Born in Tanga in 1959 in a humble family background, Alhaj Murtaza Somji studied at the Minto Ophthalmic Hospital in Bangalore, India to qualify as an Ophthalmic Optician. He then worked in Dubai as a senior optometrist for three years and finally settled in Kenya in 1989. He established his optical practice in Westlands –an upmarket suburb of Nairobi and has been operating as Eyestyle Opticians Limited since then.

Community service had been ingrained in his life from childhood as he regularly volunteered for Tanga Jamaat during his young age. After migrating to Nairobi and studying the Nairobi Jamaat dynamics, he assumed Governorship of the Golden Crescent Group in 1996. This led to bigger opportunities and he rose to the position of assistant Hon. Secretary of the Jamaat and then on to the post of the Hon. Secretary and finally served as the Chairman of SAAJ from 2004 to 2008. Prior to that he had taken up posts in the AF Sports Festival organizing committee, Africa Federation Education Board, Hon. Secretary - Nairobi Jaffery Education Board and more recently as a Board Member of a local NGO CHEPs. He has also had the honor of serving as the Hon. Trustee of Nairobi Jamaat, committee member of Housing Project Committee Nairobi and finally as the Chairman of the Nairobi Jaffery Education Board.

Murtaza Somji has also had the prestigious honor of serving the Ahlulbayt through his renditions of Manqabat, Naath and Merthiyas and continues to contribute to the general good of the Community at large.

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