Our First Failure is Often the Leadership.
Dr. A P Abdul Kalam, the one-time Indian president remarked, “A creative person is motivated by his or her own desire to excel and not the need to beat others.” This is a powerful statement. Come to think of it quite well and you realize that most of our problems stem from the need for our leaders to beat others. We don’t need any justification to agree that this is the biggest cause of stagnant projects in our counties and constituencies because most often the leaders we choose won’t finish the projects started by their predecessors.
The problem seems to have taken another twist now that corruption seems to be the only thing we can be best described with as a country. I have discovered that social stratification that pushes leaders to steal from the public to be at par with the rest of their fellow cream is ill motivated. As one reggae musician sang, it even seems that this stealing is out of hand now that people are stealing in the name of Jah, a slang term used to mean God. This is how low we have sank as a country in terms of bad governance and leadership.
Dr. Kalam gave his thoughts on who a leader is. He said, “Let me define a leader. He must have vision and passion and not be afraid of any problem. Instead, he should know how to defeat it. Most importantly, he must work with integrity.” The last sentence tastes like cud in my mouth now that almost all our leaders, political ones especially, lack integrity. If not corruption, it is incitements, land grabbing, murder, lying and all the bad things we can think of.
Perhaps Kalam’s insights were driven largely from the experience he accumulated as an active leader in the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). It is during the initial launch when he came hand in hand with failure and being looked upon as the ultimate leader to make it all happen. In other words, leadership is developed. That has not been the case here at home because some people have been made to believe that it is only them even when leadership has not been developed in them.
We are at a critical stage as a continent where the people are getting empowered day in day out and beginning to realize what they need from their leadership. The recent uprisings that have led to the removing from power of such dictatorial regimes as that of Omar Bashir of Sudan most recently could be moving to other countries. Corruption, theft of public resources happening in broad daylight could only be waiting for the right moment to explode. As a matter of fact, you cannot fool all the people all the time.
The tale of the scorpion that it would not sting the frog as they crossed the sea, one in which the scorpion forfeited and ended up stinging the frog as was custom epitomizes the situation with our leaders and one in which we have become so well acquainted with.
Integrity of one party in the above case was the cause both animals drowning. Our trust levels of our leaders have gone down to their bare minimum. All that I see is a group of leaders who fear the problem and can’t face it. They see the corrupt and can’t exercise the powers bestowed upon them to make the change. Leaders who have infected their electorate with the same disease and now the electorate has become part of it. The tale of politics having no permanent enemies is a caricature of the big money buying the integrity of the few who dare stand.
This challenge of not standing in the face of temptation especially when entrusted with the faith of the public has eroded so much that the populace is also not sure what they need to do. After all we all need to be corrupt, so they say. But so may the many believe, a whole administration is brought down by the rightful conscious thought of one individual who believes we have to be answerable to future generations.
If we cannot stand to truthfully defend our integrity as the people, then the abuse by the leadership is to be our blame. When we choose bad leaders with questionable characters and things go wrong before we wonder who bewitched who, we are in for a rude shock. We stand to safeguard our country and resources. And those we choose to do this for us in the capacity of leaders should learn to measure up to the level of their calling.
When we the people also keep quite when we see bad leadership in play, it means we have lost the very essence of our true existence. We become partakers in the ills committed by the leaders.
I am calling us to put all our leaders in the scale of public justice and end the tyrannical rule of our bad leaders once and for all and we can begin to see things change. At that level we can appreciate what it means to have good leaders in office. Leaders of integrity as well as leaders who don’t fear to stand for what is right even at the cost of their own blood.
We always decide our fate as the people. This fate is determined by the leaders we choose. And these leaders we choose determine the future we get to have.