The Five Leadership Traits Lacking in Africa

Published on 26th November 2019

1. LACK OF ORIGINALITY – Whether you are talking about politics, religion or education or otherwise, there is always a notion that what works in America or Europe must therefore work in Africa. From technologies to books we read; you always find an outsider imprint. Africa right now should strive to become original in principle and practice.  What is true in other parts of the world does not necessarily mean it will fit perfectly in African concept of leadership. The obvious result has been that if it has no genesis in America or Europe, therefore, it will not be acceptable in Africa. This is wrong, African leadership must begin to think and act independent and find solutions within its people, psyche, history and environs. Originality will set Africa free.

2. INDECISIVENESS – It's always an elephant in the room when it comes to Africa. In politics, for example, leadership is wimpy when it comes to resolutions that can fundamentally change the face of Africa.  You can discern it in speeches, in language used, in policies drafted, in budgets planned and so on. There is always a notion that it will not work unless someone else helps out. This leaves the majority of people to always grope in poverty and indigence.

3. ABSENCE OF CONTINUITY – Especially in politics, you always find leadership that destroys everything a previous regime architected. In religion, too, it goes to that other extreme, where "spiritual dictators" hold on to power until they die without leaving behind viable successors. This leaves the continent 20 or 30 years behind other continents. Each regime when it gets in power have to start from the scratch, as if human capital, natural resources, and mental acumen were not invested in previous projects. Every previous investment simply goes to the waste like that. It's this intense angst and re-invention of the wheel that had led Africa to lapse into perpetual underdevelopment.

4. LACK OF EXPERIMENTATION – This could even have come first, in Africa, it has been an incurable disease. Lack of free experimentation is lacking. Government upon government are only interested in solving current problems and lack the capacity and will to invest in finding solutions for the future. If it has not been for Europe and America, probably, simple diseases and environment inconveniences could still have been devastating Africa. Africa could probably still be living in grass thatched enclaves or be taking years to move from one end to the end or the worse. Simple technologies which are advanced by Grade 11 students in America and Europe are non-existent in Africa. University professors heap one degree upon another (usually obtained from foreign prestigious universities) and yet no notable inventions or patented innovations from the continent for over 100 years!

Does it not disturb us that we cannot compete with original technologies, that every technology product we consume is created by Europeans and Americans and the Chinese? Have you not wondered why even to cure malaria we have to wait until a student from Europe or America events a cure? What kind of students do we take? What type of professors do we utilize? Look at the authorship, we have libraries in Africa filled with foreign-written books. There are fewer and fewer African authors in Africa. African children are reading fewer and fewer books written by Africans. The leadership in Africa must invest in experimentation and own their own brands in technologies, innovations and developmental modeling.

5. CORRUPT-FREE MOTIVATION – From religious leaders to politicians, there is always a sense of "What is in it for me?" This does not matter in what sector or sphere of life. Corruption weaves its tentacles like a thousand-headed serpent into the echelons of African leadership. Its so rampant that if you wish to be a champion of a corrupt-free society you may be dead even before you think of revolutionizing legislation and policies. It's so devious that sometimes the very people who must advise you otherwise, will kill you or throw you out if you should advocate against corruption. In other words, because of rampant corruption, many people are being paid for not working, getting contracts for which they lack acumen, expertise and experience, and are enriching themselves at the expense of the poor. It also means that majority of resources are only available to a corrupt few. This leaves the continent in a state of stagnation.

The solution lies somewhere at the continuum of the above-identified factors. This is the hope that Africa holds, apparently.

By Charles Mwewa

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