Poor leadership in Africa. Why?
Colin Luther Powell is the first black person to be the 65th United States Secretary serving under the United States President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. To Colin, leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing problems is the day you have stopped leading them.
Peter Druker said nothing more than a leader being someone who has followers. However, the question is, why would someone willingly choose to follow you?
John C. Maxwell comes in to clear the air by quoting “leadership is influence”. Nothing more, nothing less. This has to do with the skill and ability to influence.
To Colin, we lead to solve problems. The problem arising from poor governance, corruption, unemployment, drought, famine, violence just to mention a few. Poor leadership comes in when the leader losses the ability to solve these problems and provide direction to followers.
The history of Africa begins from slavery and colonization to independence and present-day civilization. This phase went along with different types of leadership rules. From the innumerable problems faced by Africa, poor leadership is the actual disease.
This diagnosis is from various scholars, politicians, journalists and even the old man waiting to cast his next vote.
Former president of Ghana John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor during a project launch stated “what I came to realize during the very long public service, which took me to all the five continent in the world, and also enabled me to know our continent Africa quite well, I came to a conclusion that the real bane of Africans under development, if I may use that word is poor leadership’’
He added “and I don’t blame us the Africans, we have had a very sad history over the past 600 years, the history that sucked our self-confidence and history that also instilled some real self dought in us’’
But should our history continue to define who we are? Let us sit around the table and ask the difficult questions. Let us give truthful answers. Where are the taxes going? Who is controlling the affairs of the nation?
There are innumerable abandoned projects that millions have been budgeted for. Some projects have lost count in Nigeria including the Rivers State Monorail project initiated by the past government that was designed to ease transportation problems.
A 12 kilometers project at a cost of N 50 billion has been abandoned at 2.6 kilometers. Some tired citizens have prophesied that the project will never be completed. A survey by the Chartered Institute of Project Management of Nigeria in 2017 estimated the number of abandoned projects. The survey revealed projects costing about N12 trillion which is 10% of the economy.
Over 253 property projects have been abandoned since 2009 in Malawi. Even though most of these abandoned projects can be caused by several understandable reasons. The paramount reason is corruption.
Monies budgeted for national projects are sometimes channeled to the wrong pockets. Some successive governments also abandon projects started by its predecessor.
It is for a fact that most African leaders lack long term strategic planning agendas. Leaders, most especially presidents have a total of 8 years to be in power. After the first 4 years, citizens are to choose whether to keep the sitting president or elect a new one.
Now, these leaders work on short term projects that will benefit them. They accumulate as much as they can within the 4 years because their 8 years is not assured. This is a sad story but unfortunately, the reality.
A Dh165 billion industrial (45 billion US dollars) project have been announced in Dubai. A project seeking to create over 15,000 jobs by 2025. https://mediain.com/adnoc-announces-plan-invest-aed-165-billion-growth-expansion-refining-petrochemicals/?lang=en
A country like China is already living in the future. Some future problems some counties will face, China has already started working to solve it today.
Over the past years, corruption has been spotted by some African leaders such as
Mobutu Sese Seko of the Democratic Republic of Congo, stealing between US$4 billion and $15 billion during his reign. Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh accused of embezzling $100m during his 22 year rule. https://thisisafrica.me/politics-and-society/corruption-and-looting-of-resources-by-african-leaders/
South Africa former president, Thabo Mbeki refused to accept the link between HIV and AIDS which caused a lot of death. He was forced by his party to resign as president as a result of several scandals of corruption. A 2002 African union study estimate that corruption costs the continent $ 150 billion a year.
What will be the present-day figure? It is for a fact that Africa does not need charity we need transformative leadership. The journey to attaining the status “developed” might take a while but we will surely get there with the right leadership.
Yes, we can.
Benedicta Dorcas Tetteh
featured image from Pexels.com