Are you interested in leadership matters in Africa? Never forget this famous phrase by John Wooden, American basketball player and coach. “The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.”
I wonder if that phrase has something to do with the kind of cries you hear from those seeking leadership positions, whether in organizations or a country’s political arena in most African countries.
“The city sits in mountains of garbage!”
“Don’t come to my county to do small things!”
“Business licences are overpriced”
“Corruption is killing the people!”
Hmmm… Nothing new. Same old speech regurgitated over and over. Yuck!
But does this mean that the campaigner plans to make the situation better if elected into the desired position? Say, creating favorable environment for economic growth?
From experience, hardly.
You wonder then why anyone would call for a press conference, arrive at the posh venue armed with supporters who will do anything to get the tune right in praise of the campaigner just to listen to this kind of talk?
They squeeze beside and behind the speaker of the day just to ensure that their faces are captured by the paparazzi till the rehearsed speech is done. All this is done in the name of being named supporters of the speaker.
What even in the world is that supposed to be; a profession or a calling?
In my not-so-humble opinion, I would rather have such a press conference held to call the mass to get involved in making the country or organization better.
For a moment, picture the political arena now that almost every other African country is always in a campaign mode. Why would a city lay in garbage while a campaigner can mobilize the mass to ensure that it is clean?
Say setting aside one Saturday per month to clean up the estates. That would go a long way to ensuring that what today looks like a city in garbage is a glorious castle that draws many to herself.
Surely, if the person seeking leadership position can deliver a speech so captivating as to keep thousands standing in the blazing sun for hours, then I don’t see how the same fellow would fail to get the same team of followers engaging in something as beneficial as keeping their city clean. After all, the same team of followers adheres to each one of the speaker’s instructions as they would to the call of death!
Politics and Leadership Matters in African Countries
Before anyone in Africa decides to campaign for any political position, they should, to say the least address the ills they see in the land. Not by throwing around cheap political words to excite the mass, but by reversing the course of the said ills.
Campaigning for a political position is not a decision to be made overnight just because you landed a heap of cash to buy votes. Leadership is not as easy as boiling water for a cup of coffee, a thought many campaigners seem to take for granted. It is all about the lives of real people.
So, Who Should Campaign for a Political Position Here in Africa?
Let me paint a picture using a scenario I witnessed right here in Mombasa, Kenya. It should act as a guide to anyone who thinks that they have what it takes to tell tales to the masses in exchange for a vote.
An international organization (name withheld) was seeking to fill in a very critical position; ‘Head of Network Coordination and Development’. Bearing in mind the sensitivity of the leadership position, the organization didn’t ask for applicants to have specific academic competency.
They however expected applicants to have experience in successfully developing networks and innovative partnerships, proven fund-raising skills, evidence in ability to positively influence donors, experience in humanitarian and development issues in the African region and proven experience in development and implementation of relevant strategies.
That is absolute practicality!
That far, you could tell that these fellows weren’t looking for complainers but result-oriented team players. It was also not a matter of great academic qualifications, though necessary, but the ability to produce above-the-scale results in situations that could turn out nasty, with a whole pint of suitability.
They were looking for someone who could round up masses and positively change the fate of the organization. That is a leader. Undeniably.
So now I ask, dear political campaigner, would you have made it to the list of interviewees, or your heap of cash would have had to do the talking?
Dare to answer that.
But I’m not here to critique your ‘personal example’ stripping you of dignity without giving a way out of the situation. Africans are waking up from the drunken stupor after buy-them dump-them ordeal witnessed over the years.
Here is a questionnaire to help you evaluate your capacity to become the leader Mama Africa needs for her people, their businesses and their happiness.
Exclusive Questionnaire Before Seeking Positions in Leadership Matters in Africa
Ready to become the people’s leader in Africa?
Forget the screams of blood-thirsty, power-hungry, ‘my-family-must-win’ hangabouts; people’s lives are at stake here. Evaluate yourself using these questions.
- Am I financially independent and a self-driven hard worker?
- Am I able to rally people around a worthy course such as progressive volunteerism?
- Are there people whom I have worked with to eradicate uncomfortable situations and in return they are able to do the same for others?
- Are there projects that I have started and I’m overseeing their progress while the benefactors are actually people I am not related to by blood, tribe or marriage?
- Would I be willing to establish similar projects in other areas in the world for the sake of caring for humanity- regardless of the age, with similar vigor?
- Can I mobilize funds from people for their own benefits and the benefit of others who are in delicate situations?
- Is my relationship with my immediate relatives and neighbors desirable?
- Do I have proven mediating skills?
- Do I embrace people of a different belief systems as equal humans?
- What is my inner most conviction as to why I am the most eligible person for the position?
Once you have evaluated yourself against the questions above, have at least 10 honest people read your answers to help you know if you are honest with yourself. Also to help you see where you can improve for the good of those you hope to lead.
Remember, the worst of lies ever told are those we tell ourselves. In the end we are entangled in mesh of self-deceit, pride and foolishness. Pursuing leadership matters in Africa must go beyond your personal greed, and embrace the national needs for both politicians and the common man. Otherwise we shall have no continent to talk about.