Leadership is the biggest flaw of African politicians and the cause of the stagnation in growth, development and transformation needed to turn the fortunes of African countries around. Sadly Africa is endowed with so many natural resources and amazing numbers of human capital yet, she is always going to seek help a cup in hand. The 21st century is about leadership as a resource (LaaR) and not natural resources.
The days when nations were great, respected, feared and hailed across the world because of the natural resources they had has passed. Today, leadership is the most important resource that makes all the difference in leading and championing nations the world over to unprecedented growth.
The human resources of the nation come second followed by the mindset and attitudes of the citizenry and lastly, the natural resources at their disposal. African countries continue to struggle for survival with all the resources they have and can boast of. They keep discovering new resources yet, they do not have the needed leadership to think objectively and take decisions that will benefit posterity first and the present generation.
Adejuwon & Afegbua (2012) argues that vast African leaders emerge into positions of responsibility with limited experience. The evil called the limited experience of persons in leadership position causes moral decline as well as a discipline among the led and the leader while carrying out the leadership responsibilities.
Bad policies are initiated and implemented, professional standards and associated ethical principles are thrown to the dogs, big-picture thinking and strategic plans are ignored giving birth to weak systems, slow to no developing and governance challenges. Political leadership is causing mass suffering across Africa instead of eradicating the suffering of the masses. Poverty, Disease, Economic decline, corruption in high places have won in many cases and continue to make headlines.
It implies, that, we have people in positions who are not in position. To better put it, we have people in political positions carrying the tag “Leader” when in actual sense, they know nothing about leadership, are not leading their countries truly and do not have what it takes to lead the nation in various capacities.
From Nigeria to Ghana, Libya to South Africa, the leadership deficiency and the porous governance provided by political leaders in state-owned firms, ministries and other government-owned and managed institutions is so obvious. Many political leaders are only acting and rehearsing the script for the first time. The burden of leadership must be fully understood and the responsibilities, duties and obligation and how to handle them ought to be mastered. Leadership is an act, a science, a philosophy, a way of life that must influence decisions, positively impact lives, people and change the fortunes of the nations of Africa. In many instances, political leaders in Africa forget their reason for being put in charge and either become wasteful or inefficient.
If you find yourself in a leadership position as a politician in Africa, know that Africas are gradually becoming sophisticated in thoughts and their understanding of politics, governance and leadership is deepening. You better sit up before they show you the exit. In leading as a politician, you will surely have to learn the ropes but, before that, you must be exposed to some leadership challenges, and be ready to face the reality of what leading in a developing society our community like Africa is all about. Thus; Solve the problems and don’t come complaining. Leaders don’t complain, they solve problems and get excited with the opportunity provided to alter the negatives.
Adejuwon & Afegbua (2012) made an excellent remark in their work “The Challenges of Leadership and Governance in Africa” He said:
The long term salvation of developing countries depends on the quality of its future leaders.
The fate of Africa’s tomorrow lies in its leaders of today, our tomorrow is the collective actions of today. A conscious effort needs to be made to develop and train leaders in Africa. Today, leadership has evolved and can be learned, and the skills inherent in leading can be taught, learnt and mastered. The belief that leaders are born is for the past. Leadership and Governance in Africa in limping on a wounded leg not good enough to give any level of stability. An attempt to stand will end in calamity.
African Nations are in a serious crisis caused by immature, inexperienced, uninformed personalities with great leadership responsibility and less to offer the people because they cannot understand the manoeuvre the complexities of leading. Many of them feel leadership is about positional power. No, it isn’t really the case. As a political leader? What is your philosophy of leadership? what is your genuine mindset, conviction and aim of leading? Some have argued that the term of office for Africa leaders is short to cause any transformation. This in itself is highly debatable.
In Africa, America, Europe, Asia and Australia no nation has achieved meaningful development without an effective leader. The best natural resources, the best human capital and the best attitudes are just a shadow of themselves when there is no true leadership.
Walumbwa, Avolio, & Aryee (2011) sums it up saying:
The reality a country’s economic performance is contingent on the effectiveness of its leadership and management practices that serve to unlock the potential of its workforce to effectively implement the strategic goals of organizations.
Without the needed leadership in Africa, if all the best resources are brought to African countries, nothing more than mediocre and staggering minute growth, leaps and success will be visible. African politicians who want to be remembered as true leaders who left enviable records must champion growth using leadership. Leadership is driving nations that cannot boast of any natural resources and these nations turn to provide Africa countries with loans as development partners. The United Arab Emirates is where it is because of leadership and not natural resources. Anytime you hear or mention Dubai, you are indirectly acknowledging the leadership that positioned that city and nation in your mind. Today, China is on a mission to own a share of Africa, it takes extraordinary leadership in every head of state in Africa to see, the way but many are blind though they have functional eyes. African leaders must see through the lens quickly.
It is extremely difficult to find honest people in politics. African politicians are very dishonest. If you are honest, you will be changed into another personality the day you enter Africa politics or else you will be seen as a snitch. The great leaders needed to lead African nations must have a high level of honesty. Don’t deceive the people and have no bad influence around your leadership.
Great political leaders are always concerned about others, their people and this is a sincere concern. Such leaders must be enthusiastic and inspiring. These leaders will have the urge to take care of the economic, social and political needs of the masses and not the minority reach. This is not the case for Africa. Our leaders get the best protection, the best, cars, the best accommodation, and the best of everything including avoiding traffic with their convoy. Yet, their efforts to develop and transform the economies of Africa are not in convoys to match their benefits.
They make their nations sad forgetting that a happy society leads to a strong nation. Reactive leadership and approach to doing things is the order of the day. African needs leaders with foresight who think outside the box and today’s generation like Dr Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Nelson Mandela of South Africa.
Self-awareness cannot be overlooked in leading (Beliefnet, n.d.). African political leaders are very often the know it all kind of people. Even when they are wrong, they defend it. Some do not even know their strengths and weaknesses as leaders. When they know, their pride keeps them from coming out accept it while many more fail to work on it.
Many political leaders are not good at listening. They cannot read the emotions and sentiments of the people. If you are not ready to listen to the issues raised by those you are governing and their concerns, how can you lead them? Leaders who listen to their followers gather the hardcore truth about the impact of their leadership on the masses.
Honesty, compassion, integrity, confidence and many more are basic qualities every leader needs (Quora, 2016). If you are a political figure or leader and you cannot identify and analyze problems and get the best solution in place in Africa, don’t enter political or exit, if you are already in there. Africa has suffered a liability in the hands of people like you who are still holding on to power, wasting resources and enjoying privileges.
Africa is the home of party politics, where, only those who support a government in power, either enjoy all the good of the state or are the only people who know the government is doing well. The kind of leaders Africa needs in politics are those who are objective, and stand by what is good and condemn what is wrong irrespective of who it is and whether it favours their party or not and are appreciated by the masses irrespective of their political affiliations. Africa lacks these rare species as leaders in the political landscape. Decisions taken ought to be in the best interest of the nation governed and nothing else.
Don’t be surprised if you ask an African if he trusts politicians and you get the answer No, I don’t because African political leaders are sweet mouth talkers, and corruption hangs around their necks with an aim to enrich themselves, family and friends. Do you call this leadership? I bet to differ. Let us start to manage the flaws of today’s political leaders through training and education while developing a new leadership paradigm for Africa’s leaders of tomorrow through education and capacity building in all levels of education and training.
Source: Newsghana24.com | Wisdom Hammond
Adejuwon, D. K., & Afegbua, I. S. (2012). The challenges of leadership and governance in Africa. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 141-157.
Beliefnet. (n.d.). beliefnet. Retrieved May 15, 2019, from beliefnet: https://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/galleries/top-5-qualities-of-good-political-leaders.aspx
Quora. (2016, August 25). Retrieved May 15, 2019, from Quora: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-qualities-of-a-good-political-leader
Walumbwa, F. O., Avolio, J. B., & Aryee, S. (2011). Leadership and management research in Africa: A synthesis and suggestions for future research. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 84(3), 425-439.