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10.08.2004 Feature Article

A Cry For Help!!! – Part 3

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The Quest For New Type African Leader

Opening Statement

I am an African, and I owe my being to the ever-changing climate and seasons of this great continent. A continent rich in all manner of resources, culture and history. But most important of all, I love this continent because it nurtured me on its great and rich values. Of all the traits of men, being humane is a hallmark of a true African.

I entered my world full of confidence and hope. My sense of belonging was complete, for my joy was a joy for many and my pain the pain of many more. That was it then, the true African is his brother's keeper.

Today, I am mature and ready to take my place in my community. Yet today, I am not sure of myself – for my confidence has waned and my hope is wavering. What happened to me, and really what happened to my generation? Today, I don't feel so good to be an African.

Our Noble Quest

Granted, that we are human and to err is human after all. What is not human though is for us not to be disturbed by the errors we commit. Any casual observer of the African Leadership scene cannot help but wonder why we have consistently mismanaged and misruled ourselves whilst at the same time deceived ourselves into believing that all is well. What an indictment on African Leadership that not a single sector of our society is in good shape. Is it really a case of the blind leading the blind into a ditch? Certainly it reflects the situation of Man dominating Man to his doom.

Sons and daughters of the Land watch in amazement the orderly societies on other continents on television and are amazed at the enormous effort other Leaders put into making life comfortable for their people. No wonder, some people characterize the situation here at home as Near Hopeless. What has gone wrong? I think it is only fair for us to desire a new way of doing things. Are we asking too much of our leaders? This is our noble quest, and many of us believe it is a reasonable desire.

The Old Approach

The leadership failure in Africa is phenomenal and cannot be glossed over. Many tend to look only at political leadership, but what I see is a total failure phenomenon. It runs through state ministries, departments, agencies and institutions. It cuts across boards of directors, advisory councils, traditional leaders, businesses and even heads of religious bodies. Contemporary African Leaders see power as an end rather than a means to an end. What else can explain the complacency in the land?

Let me bore a little with what you already know to buttress my point, and I will quote from a friend:

“all we see is a total lack of zeal and a selfish desire to milk anyone who may require a service from them! People don't see the need to change their ways and woe betides you if you dare point these things to them. From the police officer at his desk to the nurse at post, from the district planning engineer to the messenger at the bank - the issue of professionalism is lost to them. For them it is SURVIVAL of the individual, to hell with the common good!!

But then who is to blame. When a doctor has to buy his own soap and towel, when a police officer has to induce someone even for his/her uniform, when a family man has to live on less than ¢400,000 a month at a time one loaf of bread is ¢7,000 - certainly it will be difficult to convince anybody to sacrifice, especially when their so called leaders are busy making life good for themselves - buying $20,000-$90,000 cars, $16,000 holidays abroad, expensive renovation of personal accommodations at a time when nursing mothers are sleeping on the bare floor at Korlebu!!

I believe sincerely that it is about time we realised that true leaders are Rare Species. The total failure phenomenon depicts a wrong approach to the process of choosing leaders. Leadership roles cannot be job for the boys, must not be rewards for the party faithful and should not be gifts toys from political leaders to cronies and family members. The winner takes all approach is not appropriate for our peculiar setting. The politics of hatred is killing all of us. The politics of exclusion is maiming thousands.

Born and bred sycophants – for goodness sake find alternate objects of worship! Praise singers – for once, do not allow stomach politics to drive you. Are we not capable of standing for what is right – despite the consequences? We are not enemies, for heaven's sake! We are all fellow Africans aspiring to raise our heads high, to be equal among equals and to feel good about being Africans!

The New Approach

The problems of the land require no ordinary minds to tackle them. Any genuine leader would be humbled by the enormity of the challenge at stake. It calls for SELFLESS, INGENIUS Africans, working in total unity of purpose with a team of similar minded sub-managers. But there is one bitter enemy we need to conquer – OUR age old DIVISIVE TENDENCIES. The new type African Leader will have to sacrifice his term or terms of office to forge a true Union Government-not necessarily the Acheampong style, one responsive to all stakeholders and with bridges across Tribal lines and Political Parties according to each group's strength. For he needs the full support of every single citizen to realize the business goal!

His ingenuity will help him forge a common point of rally for all his citizens, a symbol of the new type leadership and of the business goal of making the African proud again.

Then he MUST sacrifice his personal desires for the common good. I am talking of True SACRIFICE, like that of a parent who is prepared to go hungry for the sake of his children. This will set the tone for all his sub-managers to follow, giving him the moral courage and right to call on all the citizenry to sacrifice for generations yet to come!

Being the new type leader, he would realize that GOD helps those who help themselves. So he will look primarily to the home front for solutions – Domestication, thank you Dan Lartey!

Hello! Is somebody listening? Is any African Leader hearing me? Every single leadership role given out MUST have a clear Business Goal and a well-defined set of Objectives. And this is the crux of the matter – only individuals with proven professional abilities and whose moral standing can be attested to by many, many people should be engaged as sub-managers. People equally disturbed by the state of affairs of the African and ready to die a little for the common good. People with a penchant to achieve set goals. The citizenry must be able to tell if the one given that role has fulfilled his objectives in the given timeframe. The rewards must follow accordingly.

Wake-up African Intelligentsia

Let each and everyone of us take it as a Sacred Duty to mankind –with or without rewards- to highlight these issues to as many fellow Africans as possible, to look out for true leadership qualities in individuals who aspire to leadership roles. To help the masses understand that the “Business as usual” approach by our current Leaders must come to an end.

I am told the Pen is mightier than the Sword – let's put it to use for the benefit of the VOICELESS in Africa. Let us stand up for the weak in our villages, for the sons and daughters of our aging farmers and fisher folks, for the teaming youths on the streets of our towns, for the thousands of school-age kids selling iced-water and pushing trucks. Let us help the Media to focus on issues rather than on personalities. Individual leaders will come and go, but he nation remains. The sycophancy in the land in the midst of myriads of problems will not help us. Be bold to speak against the manipulation of the system to suit short-term and narrow sectarian interests.

· Help stop incumbent leaders who keep defining the problems

· Push for an end to the empty words and promises.

· Help to stop the insults to the intelligence of the African.

· Stop leaders who treat the electorate as if we owe them a good life but they do not owe us anything.

· The Begging Abroad must stop.

· The Foreign solutions to African problems must stop.

· Wake up Africa, the slumber must end!

· Stop the empty heads parading as know-alls.

· Stop the hype and spin.

· Demand Responsibility, Demand Performance. Wanted: A NEW AFRICAN LEADER!

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Emmanuel Aborampah
Emmanuel Aborampah, © 2004

The author has 8 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: EmmanuelAborampah

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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