Does Africa have a problem with leaders or are we as citizens to blame? Are leaders born or made?
What is the responsibility of the citizens in creating bad leaders? What is the responsibility of citizens in creating systems that foster accountability and good leaders? What is the part played by culture in creating bad leaders?
For the past decade the buzzword ‘leadership’ has become mainstream but it can often be misunderstood.What exactly is a leader? Is everyone a leader as some would suggest? If then, who are the followers? and what does it mean to be a follower?
Instead of using the word leadership which takes responsibility away from citizens lets categorize the different people who are responsible for the way society turns out. While Robert Mugabe turned out to be a dictator, he did not become this way as a single entity. In the same way Nelson Mandela and Paul Kagame did not become the kind of leaders they are as a single entity. Instead of discussing leadership like a single man or woman’s responsibility, we should talk about how the process of life molds and shapes each African to become who they are.
Let’s breakdown leadership and how each individual is influenced by
1. Parents (lets talk about parenting and how that influences who you become)
2. Family (lets talk about your immediate and extended family and how it influences who you become)
3. Geography (lets discuss regional influences on your character)
4. Primary and Secondary education system (lets discuss the responsibility of each teacher, administrator and examiner you encounter)
5. Higher Education and skills training
These things make everyone who they are. Unless we address the contribution of these things in making political, financial, educational, societal and military leaders then all we can ever do is just blame a single leader to failure or attribute success to one leader. The destiny of any African is not in the hands of any one ‘leader’, the destiny of Africa is in the collective responsibility of its citizenry.