An African activist once said these words which are so fitting for this time in Africa. “One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.”
The new African leaders are coming to understand that the dogmas of the past are not adequate for the current economic situation that southern Africa is facing and the strain on the resources. They are rising to the occasion which needs a different leader to combat the challenges that the economic bloc needs to solve to truly become an economic powerhouse in the twenty first century. Countries in southern Africa have existed under the banner of SADC- The Southern African Development Community which is an inter-governmental organization.
As the leaders who negotiated for political independence from colonialism across Africa have transitioned there is a new breed of leaders that has emerged. The single story of the African leader is one that follows the colonial model and becomes a dictator, refuses to step down from power, jails his opponents and robs the nation’s coffers to enrich his family and inner circle of friends.
Magufuli of Tanzania
President Magufuli has been nicknamed the ‘bulldozer’ because of his bold and competent leadership which seeks to change the way government operates. Recently, a government report revealed that 9,932 government workers were using fraudulent documents. They have all being fired. He is bringing accountability once again to the Tanzanian people who have long craved bold leadership which moves their country forward. In 2016, Magufuli removed 10,000 ghost workers from the government payroll. This resolute act has saved the government $24M dollars a year. This is a reflection of an African leader working to streamline government operations and exercise fiscal responsibility.
Buhari of Nigeria
Nigeria has been often described as the most corrupt country in Africa until Buhari. The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has been making strides to keep his campaign promise to wipe out corruption in Africa’s strongest economy in what he has termed as ‘war on corruption’. The Nigerian economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world but has been plagued with corruption especially in government. Buhari saw this as an opportunity to bring accountability by fighting corruption wherever it rears its ugly head so as to bring investor confidence into the growing economy. The war on corruption has implicated the Secretary to the government of the Federation Mr. Babachir Lawal and physician to the former President Mr. Fiberesima who is being tried in a $285MM fraud case. Just recently, the task force uncovered $43MM in an empty apartment connected to the head of the nation’s spy agency.
Ian Khama of Botswana
During Zimbabwe’s sham of an election there was evidence of stuffed ballots and other election irregularities. While duplicitous former Nigerian president Obasanjo called them free and fair the Botswana delegation was the only one that challenged the legitimacy of the farce of the Zimbabwean election especially after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission refused to publish the voter’s roll.