If you have ever done extensive research in the area of governance, you will agree with me that transformative and visionary leadership deficiency, has always been and is still, a major obstacle, in Africa’s development.
Majority of Africa’s leaders are more of a liability than an asset to their countries. They are more interested in fulfilling their selfish personal ambitions than working for their people. They have failed to put in place mechanisms to exploit their countries’ natural resources for the benefit of their people. The poverty, unemployment, environmental degradation, corruption, famine and ethnic strife common in Africa is largely attributable to bad leadership.
Africa needs leadership that puts its people first and improves living standards in the continent. Africa’s leaders ought to learn some lessons from Botswana. His Excellency President Ian kharma, just like his predecessors, gets time to visit people in their localities to find out the problems they face and how they can be helped to overcome their problems. People are given time to voice their concerns to the president directly. The President then tables these views before parliament for respective government departments to take action. This kind of people based leadership practiced in Botswana is lacking in many African countries.
Africa needs leadership that is committed to promoting the rule of law. This will enable decisions to be made by institutions in a manner prescribed by law. There are many incidences where some African leaders have interfered with decisions made by institutions established by the act of parliament. In Uganda, President Museveni, personally, interfered, in ruling out the proposal of national forest authority which had carried out a study and found out that the four central government forest reserves on Buggala Island in kalangala district were ecologically sensitive with potentials to support eco-tourism and therefore it was not wise to turn them into other Uses. Museveni however directed Prime Minister Apollo Nsibambi to effect his wish of availing the forest reserves to BIDCO company for palm growing.
In Egypt, members of the Muslim brotherhood are always rounded up and taken to prison cells by the state security operatives without following the law. Some have even disappeared under unclear circumstances. This is not the kind of leadership that Africa deserves. The era of globalization demands total accountability and transparency.
Corruption in Africa is skyrocketing largely due to the lack of political will on the part of the leadership to stamp it out. According to the World Bank, Uganda has lost about $300 millions (more than 510billions) annually since 2005 through corruption and procurement malpractices. Gabon, Nigeria, Kenya, DR Congo and Angola, among others, lose more than that to corruption. Unless corruption is eliminated, basic delivery services like water, health power roads and education, will remain poor in our continent. Tough anti-corruption laws such as public execution of corrupt culprits, compulsory selling off of their assets, freezing of their bank accounts both at home and abroad and imprisoning them for life must be put in place and operationalised.
Power should be gained using legal established channels. Elections in Africa have always been characterized by vote rigging, bribery, intimidation, stuffing of ballot boxes among other electrical malpractices. This scenario is not what Africa deserves. Some African leaders manipulate the institutions in their countries, in order to remain in power. This is one reason why election results in Africa have always been disputed in the courts of law like Dr Kizza Besigye did in Uganda in 2006. In some cases, violent demonstrations like what happened in Kenya in 2007 are experienced.
People in leadership should see and treat those in opposition as partners in development and likewise, people in opposition should do the same. Ideas that are geared towards promoting unity, democracy and development should be supported by every person. This is only way a multi- party political system can cause development.
Peaceful co-existence amidst our cultural, religious, political and ideological difference is what we need. In Sudan, tribal and religious differences have often resulted into violent conflict, destruction of property and death. In Nigeria, the same problem recently led to the death of hundreds of people in the central Jos plateau. Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Rwanda among others, have experienced the same problem. Africa therefore needs leadership that promotes the unity of the African people.
A country’s wealth should be exploited and benefit all its citizens. When you look at Nigeria, the Niger delta region, where a lot of Nigeria’s oil wealth comes from is one of the poorest regions in Nigeria. In Sudan, the north is more developed than the south which has the oil. In Angola, development is concentrated in few areas. This kind of arrangement is the source of ethnic strife in Africa. Africa needs leaders that will ensure that the basic facilities and services like hospitals, health centers, and school and collages roads power among others are equitably distributed to all regions.
Operationalised transformative leadership will steer our continent to prosperity. Transactional leadership will lead Africa to serfdom.