Effective Leadership In The Political Arena, By PLO Lumumba
EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP IN THE POLITICAL ARENA, PRESENTATION OUTLINE BY PROF. PLO – LUMUMBA, LL.D, D.LITT (h.c), CPS (K), MKIM
Lecture At The Institute Of Certified Public Secretaries Regional Conference On Leadership Governance And Integrity Held At Speke Resort, Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda On Wednesday, 28th, June, 2017
EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP IN THE POLITICAL ARENA
Leadership is at the very heart of human progress. Indeed it is true to say that where leaders have vision the nation prospers.
This is true in business, government, social change movements, religious organizations, community groups, or sports teams. Visionary leadership is particularly fundamental in politics, religion, science, art and in all cultures across the world.
Visionary leaders have been described as builders of a new genesis presenting a challenge that calls forth the best in people and brings them together around a shared sense of purpose. They are social innovators and change agents, seeing the big picture and thinking strategically. They search for solutions that transcend the usual adversarial approaches and address the causal level of problems. Visionary leaders discover higher synthesis of the best of both sides of an issue and address the systemic root causes of problems to create real breakthroughs.
Visionary leaders are committed to values, exemplify a sense of personal integrity, and radiate a sense of energy, vitality and will. Rather than being corrupted by power, visionary leaders are elevated by power and exercise moral leadership. The most effective visionary leaders are responsive to the real needs of people and they develop participative strategies to include people in designing their own futures.
B. Visionary leadership in politics
Visionary leadership has been credited with national, regional stability and prosperity in Africa and across the world. Examples of such notable visionary leaders comprise of:
i. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana
Kwameh Nkrumah was Ghana’s visionary leader. Under his leadership Ghanians became the first people to gain independence in sub-Saharan Africa. Attainment of independence in Ghana in 1957 gave hope and inspiration to many countries fighting to free themselves from colonialism. He was described as the leading light of the new dawn in Africa. He was also a visionary driver of Pan-Africanism. He was committed to the anti-colonial struggle for independence which he believed was a precondition for Africa’s Unity and progress. His vision saw the birth of organisation of African Unity (OAU) now the African Union (AU).
ii. Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania,
Julius Kambarage “Mwalimu” Nyerere was a visionary leader who succeeded in creating a united country by adopting a people based approach to open communication and dialogue and a strong belief in human rights. He consistently ensured that the Ujamaa ideology was realized by living it himself.
He was an outstanding leader, a brilliant philosopher and a people’s hero – a champion for the entire African continent. Throughout his long life he enjoyed respect and popularity that extended far beyond the borders of Tanzania. His wise counsel was sought from around the globe, even after he resigned from the presidency in 1985.
In 1967 Julius Nyerere wrote the Arusha Declaration for Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) . The Arusha Declaration emphasized self-reliance, frugality, and self-denial. It provided that everyone in the state, whatever his or her actual occupation, was a worker and that all means of production would be nationalized for the people. The concept of Ujamaa was the linchpin of the social and economic development program.
The Declaration included a Leadership Code to promote equality among all Tanzania citizens. The code attempted to prevent party leaders and well-to-do individuals from forming privileged, exploitative groups. Generally, the Arusha Declaration sought to reduce income inequality among all citizens and shift development efforts towards rural areas.
In addition to aiming for a self-sustaining economy, it reformed the education system. The three significant changes that it made, were putting more emphasis on primary education rather than secondary education, commending practical knowledge more than book knowledge, and gearing education more towards agricultural skills.
A legacy in his own lifetime, he served as a symbol of inspiration for all African nations in their liberation struggles to free themselves from the shackles of oppression and colonialism.
Mwalimu Nyerere’s view was exceptional, He opined several times that a true leader must be reluctant to lead and warned that in choosing leaders the population must take cognizance of the 5 Ps and avoid Leaders who are attracted to Leadership by the following:
Owing to his focus and simplicity, his legacy is a united Tanzania with mature politics giving meaning to the truism that ‘a Leader is not deemed successful until his successor succeeds’.
iii. Yoweri Museveni of Uganda
Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda. Museveni assumed the presidency of Uganda on January 29, 1986. Since then he has tried to reverse two decades of army brutalities, government corruption, and economic decline in Uganda, formerly one of Africa’s most prosperous countries. As president, Museveni helped revitalize the country, providing political stability, a growing economy, and an improved infrastructure. He instituted a number of capitalist reforms and supported a free press. Museveni also implemented measures to combat AIDS. Uganda, was one of the first African countries to have success battling the illness.
iv. Mahatma Ghandi of India
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an Indian lawyer who became the primary leader of India’s independence movement. Better known as Mahatma Gandhi, he not only led India to independence from British rule but also inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world in several other countries. Best remembered for his employment of nonviolent means of civil disobedience, he led Indians in the Dandi Salt March to protest against the British-imposed salt tax and launched the Quit India Movement, a mass protest demanding “an orderly British withdrawal” from India.
Mahatma Gandhi was the primary leader of India’s independence movement and also the architect of a form of non-violent civil disobedience that would influence the world.
Mahatma Gandhi, also known as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Indian lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer who became the leader of the nationalist movement against the British rule of India. As such, he came to be considered the father of his country. Gandhi is internationally esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolent protest (satyagraha) to achieve political and social progress.
Satyagraha remains one of the most potent philosophies in freedom struggles throughout the world today, and Gandhi’s actions inspired future human rights movements around the globe, including those of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States and Nelson Mandela in South Africa.
v. Samora Moises Machel of Mozambique
Samora Machel was a dedicated military man and socialist revolutionary, Mozambican leader and commander who led the Mozambican people in their struggle for independence from Portugal, eventually becoming the country’s first president.
Machel, like so many others, suffered under colonial rule. He saw the fertile lands of his farming community on the Limpopo river appropriated by white settlers. His family worked unprofitable and arduous cotton plots to comply with the colonial government’s cotton cultivation scheme, and they lost loved ones to work accidents and illness resulting from the unsafe and unhealthy work conditions prevailing in the mines, farms, and construction companies which employed thousands of Mozambicans. As an educated black working in the capital city in the heyday of colonialism, Machel faced the arrogance and racism despised by black workers throughout the country.
Machel was a member of the first group of the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) soldiers sent to Algeria for military training. Upon completion of training, Machel returned to Tanzania to serve as an instructor at Frelimo’s Kongwa military training camp. By September 25, 1964, when Frelimo launched the armed struggle, 250 guerrillas had been trained for combat. Machel coordinated guerrilla strategy for the Niassa campaign. Two years later, upon the death of Frelimo’s Secretary of Defense Filipe Magaia, Machel became secretary of defense and then commander-in-chief of the army—positions he held throughout the war.
Machel developed Frelimo strategies from his positions within the war zone, propagandizing revolutionary values among the population of areas held by the guerrillas. Machel firmly held that political and social issues were as fundamental to the viability of the guerrilla war as were military tactics. His qualities as a tough soldier and a persuasive speaker won him favor among his cadres. He also enjoyed the confidence and respect of Frelimo President Mondlane.
vi. Nelson Mandela of South Africa
In 1993 South Africa’s anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, became the country’s first democratically elected president. He often stated that “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy; then he becomes your partner”.
Mandela was publicly recognized as a visionary and charismatic leader. After over four decades of apartheid and conflict to end racial oppression, South Africa’s liberation movement negotiated an agreement with state representatives that ended apartheid and transferred power to a democratically-elected transitional government under Nelson Mandela (who was President) with Frederik W. deKerk as Deputy President. The interim constitution of 1993 had deemed it necessary to build a bridge between the past and the future, to establish the truth about the past in order to prevent the occurrence of human rights violations in the future, as well as to promote ubuntu – a Zulu word meaning “humanness” – in pursuit of national unity and reconciliation. (Allais, 2011; Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act No. 34, 1995).
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established with the aim of achieving these goals. It was to investigate and draw “as complete a picture as possible of the nature, causes and extent” of the human rights violations committed during the period from 1960 to 1994, to grant amnesty to those who fully confessed to their roles in set violations, to offer victims “an opportunity to relate the violations they suffered,” to take measures aimed at granting reparations to victims as well as restoring their dignity, to produce a report about such violations and victims, and to make recommendations aimed at preventing them in the future
vii. Paul Kagame of Rwanda
Paul Kagame’s visionary leadership is credited with the post genocide success. Under his leadership Rwanda has exhibited robust economic growth, became the leading country in Africa in terms of service delivery in education and health. Levels of corruption have decreased nationwide and high levels of institutional accountability, economic recovery, and national income rose while urban poverty has decreased. Post genocide the Rwandese government has the highest percentage of female parliamentarians in Africa and worldwide. Reduced corruption and overseen innovative local justice processes that have resulted in ethnic reconciliation
Whereas the Rwanda Government had prioritized reconciliation of its citizens through prosecutorial/trial based approach, there was welcome recognition among the highest Government echelons that working with a penal and legal system that is completely overstretched, with an estimated 115,000 prisoners in Rwandan jails and communal lockups (cachots), would require a move away from the ‘white man’s’ standards of justice. The ‘Gacaca’ traditional conflict resolution mechanism was adapted and revived.
The ‘Gacaca courts’ were empowered to hand down sentences that include community work schemes that not only directly benefited the most destitute families of victims, but also put the victim and villain in daily contact, accelerating the healing process.
President Paul Kagame described the initiative as an “African solution to African problems.” Since 2005, just over 12,000 community-based Gacaca courts—deriving their name from the Kinyarwanda word meaning “grass” (the place where communities gather to resolve disputes)—have tried approximately 1.2 million cases. They will leave behind a mixed legacy.
Rwandans welcomed the courts’ swift work and the extensive involvement of local communities, stressing that ‘Gacaca’ helped them better understand what happened in the darkest period of the country’s history and eased tensions between the people.
Through visionary and dedicated leadership president Paul Kagame has reenergized a country whose obituary had been written by pessimists and today Rwanda is leading in many areas including:
a) Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth increased at the rate of 8% from the years 2000-2014.
b) Rwanda has laid a 2,229 km Fibre optic cable.
c) The poverty rate countrywide have decreased
d) Rwanda is the easiest place to start a business in Africa as it takes 6 hours to incorporate a company/business.
e) There are 64 % women in Parliament.
f) Rwanda banned manufacturing, use and importing of Plastic bags.
g) 73 % of the population in Rwanda has health insurance.
h) Rwanda was ranked as the most competitive economy in Sub-Saharan Africa by the 2014-2015 Global Competitiveness Report.
i) The Rwandan government provides free education in state-run schools for twelve years: six years in primary and six in secondary school and Rwanda has achieved Millennium Development Goal Number 2 on universal primary education.
viii. Martin Luther King
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. born in 1929 was an African American church minister and activist from Atlanta, the eldest son of a Baptist minister, King entered Morehouse College at 15. He graduated with a degree in sociology in 1948, and went on to Boston University earning a doctoral degree in systematic theology. King’s education exposed him to conditions that related Christian theology to the struggles of oppressed peoples. His first ministry was in Montgomery, Alabama. He was president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, which directed the Montgomery bus boycott.
In 1957, King helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in a series of protest campaigns that gained national attention. King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech expressed the hopes of the civil rights movement in oratory as moving as any address in American history. His speech, following years of demonstrations, created the political momentum that resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. King was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize for peace. Throughout 1966 and 1967, King increasingly turned the focus of his civil rights activism throughout the country to economic issues.
This took King to Memphis, Tennessee, to support striking black garbage workers in the spring of 1968. He was assassinated in Memphis on April 4. After his death, Martin Luther King Jr. came to represent black courage and achievement, high moral leadership, and the ability of Americans to address and overcome racial divisions.
In a one-word description, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. can be described as a “Visionary” leader. This is evidenced by the title of his famous speech, “I have a Dream” (1963). In addition to his capacity to envision great things, he displayed great leadership characteristics and behaviors. He was led by Christian morals and was truly authentic. He was composed yet spoke with a pressing urgency. He was committed to unity; he was a promoter of peace and not strife.
Martin Luther King’s contribution to the attainment of human dignity in the racial divided nation of America have catapulted to the pantheon of greats in human history.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream, 1963.
ix. Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso
Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara (21 December 1949 – 15 October 1987) was a Burkinabé military captain, a revolutionary, pan-Africanist theorist, and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987. Viewed by supporters as a charismatic and iconic figure of revolution, he is commonly referred to as “Africa’s Che Guevara”.
Sankara fought against imperialism world order and its consequences on the people of the “third world” .He believed that ordinary men and women can create a world built on different economic and social foundations. That masses of workers and peasants whose labour, joined with the riches of nature, is the source of all wealth. Ordinary human beings who transform themselves as they become active, conscious force, transforming their conditions of life.
Sankara’s revolutionary government implemented his principles by mobilizing peasants, workers, craftsmen, women, youth, and the elderly to carry out a literacy campaign, an immunization drive, to sink wells, plant trees, build housing, and begin to eliminate the oppressive class relations on the land.
Sankara declared the objectives of the “democratic and popular revolution” to be primarily concerned with the tasks of:
I) Eradicating corruption
II) Fighting environmental degradation
III) Empowering women,
IV) Increasing access to education and health care, with the larger goal of liquidating imperial domination.
During the course of his presidency, Sankara successfully implemented programs that vastly reduced infant mortality, increased literacy rates and school attendance, and boosted the number of women holding governmental posts. On the environmental front, in the first year of his presidency alone 10 million trees were planted in an effort to combat desertification.
On the first anniversary of the coup d’etat that had brought him to power, he changed the country’s name from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which means roughly “land of upright people” in Mossi and Dyula, the country’s two most widely spoken indigenous languages.
Sankara’s visionary leadership turned his country from a sleepy West African nation with the colonial designation of Upper Volta to a dynamo of progress under the proud name of Burkina Faso (“Land of the Upright People”). He led one of the most ambitious programs of sweeping reforms ever seen in Africa. It sought to fundamentally reverse the structural social inequities inherited from the French colonial order.
Sankara focused the state’s limited resources on the marginalized majority in the countryside. When most African countries depended on imported food and external assistance for development, Sankara championed local production and the consumption of locally-made goods. He firmly believed that it was possible for the Burkinabè, with hard work and collective social mobilization, to solve their problems: chiefly scarce food and drinking water.
It is the hallmark of visionary leadership that they leaders their countries to prosperity if they are political areas.
In Africa, outside politics we are beginning to see emerging leaders in commerce and industry.A good example is Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote whose economic empire now covers over twenty African countries creating opportunities and changing lives.
C. Visionary Leadership and Good Governance
Early ideas on visionary leadership in the western world were articulated by the sociologist Max Weber’s notions of charisma and the transformational and charismatic leadership theories of the historian James MacGregor Burns and the management scholar Robert House. Theorists, such as Bernard Bass, Ben Avolio, Warren Bennis, Burt Nanus, Jay Conger, and Rabindra Kanungo also developed theories with vision communication components.
Visionary leadership behaviors beyond vision development and communication vary across leadership theories. Visionary leadership is said to have positive effects on follower outcomes, resulting in high trust in the leader, high commitment to the leader, high levels of performance among followers, and high overall organizational performance.
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan argued that opulence for Africa hinges on, “good governance, the rule of law, and systems of accountability are essential to ensure that resources are subject to public scrutiny and used effectively and efficiently. Further he argued that for this, the continent needs “determined political leadership to set and drive plans for equitable growth and poverty reduction …. Good, even visionary agendas have been formulated by African leaders and policy-makers in every field …. [But] technical management and institutional capacity are vital if policies are to be implemented …. [However, the lack of] political will … is the issue. In many African countries the fundamental principles of democratic governance are consistently, deliberately, and openly being violated, Venter (2011). Africa needs good leadership to consolidate democracy and good governance”
In his book ‘Virtuous Leadership’ Alexandre Havard, identifies the essential ingredients of leadership – service, virtue in action and character. Fortifying his assertions in sources like Plato’s writings, the Book of Wisdom in the Bible and Steven Covey; Havard distills six virtues as the pillars of leadership:-
• Prudence: to make right decisions.
• Courage: to stay the course and resist pressures of all kinds.
• Self control: to subordinate passions to the spirit and fulfillment of the mission at hand.
• Justice: to give every individual his due respect.
• Magnanimity: to strive for great things to challenge [one]s elf and
• Humility: to overcome selfishness and serve others habitually.
(Havard,2007) captures the substance of leadership in the following words: –
Leaders are defined by their magnanimity and humility. They always have a decision, which they invariably transform into a vision and mission. It is magnanimity – the striving of the spirit towards great ends – that confers this lofty state of mind… But leadership consists of more than just ‘thinking big’. A leader is always a servant of those in his professional, family and social circle, his countrymen, and indeed, the whole of humanity. And the essence of service is humility. Leaders who practice humility respect the innate dignity of other people and especially of fellow participants in a joint mission. Magnanimity and humility go hand in hand in leadership. Magnanimity generates noble ambitions; humility channels these ambitions into service for others.
If true leadership is selfless service, then all other purported ‘leadership’ is in fact [mis]-leadership. A survey of many sources, religious and cultural reveals this truism. Indeed, the Christian Bible, the Muslim Quran, the Hindu Geeta and other Holy Books are rich in examples that extol the value and virtues of good leadership. In the African context the experiences of old kingdoms to be found among the Zulu of South Africa, the Ashanti of Ghana, the Loita Maasai of Kenya serve to demonstrate how in times of good leadership Society’s prospered and how they declined when bad leadership emerged.
A solid governance infrastructure, based on well-articulated horizontal and vertical divisions of power, is crucial to delivering political promises along with the needed public goods such as security, health care, education and infrastructure. State- or nation-building is the central objective of every peace building operation and is dependent upon the reconstitution of sustainable governance structures.
Nation-building comprises, at minimum: the rule of law, judicial, constitutional and security sector reform, the establishment of mechanisms of political participation and inclusive policies, the effective provision of basic services and goods, fighting corruption, fostering a democratic culture, free and transparent elections, and the promotion of local governance.
Simply establishing formal institutions and processes does not guarantee that policies will be developed and implemented by all relevant actors. What is required is to integrate institution building with building skills and capabilities of civic and political leadership including those of constructive negotiation and consensus formation.
D. Visionary Leadership and Sustainable Peace and Development
Most profoundly, sustained peace requires a visionary leadership in a trustful, transparent and participatory partnership with civil society. The central question of successful state-building often comes down to whether newly re-established and reformed states can manage diversity and competition among different groups without resorting to violence and authoritarianism, and in a manner that delivers access to political and economic opportunities to all citizens equitably and irrespective of identity.
Any post-conflict leadership needs to place the larger national interest over that of the group, presupposing the ability to successfully manage and resolve conflicts in a participatory manner. Leaders need to be able to put aside self-interest in the name of the larger national interest, such that there are not victors, nor vanquished, but only partners.
It is widely acknowledged that Africa’s multi-ethnic state is inherently conflictual in Africa. Ethnicity is reputed to be the architect of conflict in the continent. Ethnic sensibilities are easily aroused, opportunistic leaders exploit the sectional differences between different ethnic groups. Such scenarios have been witnessed in Biafra (secessionist struggle for an independent ethnic nationhood amongst the ibo of Nigeria), Angola, Sudan, Eritrea, Uganda and Ethiopia and even Kenya during the 2007 post –election violence. Visionary leaders are the needed ingredient for sustainable peace and development as they create necessary shared sense of purpose.
There is an abundance of visionary leaders present in every aspect of society in every sector of nation building, in our generations of young leaders, business, government, social change movements, religious organizations, community groups, sports teams and many others. To nature these visionary leadership is to create foundation for good governance, sustainable peace and development
Visionary leaders will design a being the social innovators and change agents by addressing the causal level of problems ensuring good governance, prevailing rule of law, and systems of accountability effectively and efficiently ensuring that resources are utilized appropriately. In many African countries the fundamental principles of democratic governance are consistently, deliberately, and openly being violated, Africa needs good leadership to consolidate democracy and good governance.
Many parts of Africa continue to endure suffering because of poor leadership who have arrogated to themselves the monopoly of wisdom and have led their countries to pain, sorrow, and lamentation. Countries such as Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo,Eritrea,South Sudan to mention but a few are embroiled in unending conflict because of “visionless” leaders.
However a few examples have demonstrated that African can run their affairs if sound and visionary leadership takes roof. The examples of countries which were destroyed but have been renewed because of visionary leadership examples include; Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia.
The Bible is therefore right in Proverbs 29:18 which pronounces: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he”.
Prof. PLO Lumumba is the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya School of Law. He is Associate Professor of Public Law and Founding Dean, Kabarak University School of Law. He has lectured law at the University of Nairobi, the United States International University (Africa), Widener University USA (Nairobi Summer School).
He is an Advocate of the High Courts of Kenya and Tanzania. He holds Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws degrees from the University of Nairobi and a LL.D from the University of Ghent, Belgium. He is also a holder of the Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. He is a Certified Public Secretary CPS (K) and a Member of the Kenya Institute of Management (MKIM).
He has been trained on Humans Rights at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies University of London in England, Humanitarian Law at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of the University of Lund in Sweden and on International Humanitarian Law in Geneva, Switzerland.
He is a renowned legal practitioner. He has written several books including: Criminal Procedure in Kenya, An outline of Judicial Review in Kenya, Kenya’s long search for a Constitution: The Postponed Promise and Judicial Review and Administrative Law. He has published numerous articles in refereed journals and several book chapters. He has co-authored ‘The Constitution of Kenya 2010 An introductory commentary’ with Dr. Luis Franceschi. He has also co-authored several books on Ethics. His non-legal books include; Swearing by Kenya, A Call for Political Hygiene in Kenya Politics and From Raw Deal to Real Deal. He has also co-authored thirteen (13) other Books on Integrity as School Series. He has recently ventured into fiction with his book ‘STOLEN MOMENTS’.
In 2004, he received commendation from the Kenya Scouts Association for service to the society. In 2011, Bishop Okullu of College of Theology of Great Lakes University of Kisumu awarded him the order of St. Pauls the Apostle for restoration of Good governance and right values in society. In 2012 the East African Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities recognized him for valuable and exemplary contribution in the fight against corruption.
In 2015 he received commendation from the Law Society of Kenya for exemplary contribution in the provision of pro bono legal services.
He is a former Secretary of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission and former Director of the defunct Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, (KACC). He is the Founding Trustee of the African Institute for Leaders and Leadership (AILL) and founding Chairman of the Association of the Citizens Against Corruption (ACAC).
He has been named and recognized by the International Commission of Jurists (Kenya Section) and the Law Society of Kenya for his exemplary contribution to the legal profession. He was recognized by the Kenya-USA Association for the Martin Luther King Jnr., Leadership Award in 1996 and was the recipient of the 2008 Martin Luther King Africa Salute to Greatness Award by the Martin Luther King Jr. Africa Foundation. He has also been included in the Marquis Who’s Who in the World and is the Distinguished Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Lecturer for 2014. He was the 11th Kwame Nkrumah Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana in 2016. On 27th of May, 2017, he was invested Chief Tamba Taylor of Liberia for his Pan Africanist Activities. He has also been awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award by the Africa International University for providing exemplary servant leadership in society.