I read with great interest the speech which the Education, Science and Technology Minister, Prof. Joyce Ndalichako, delivered at the 2018 ESAMI Graduation Ceremony at Njiro Hills in Arusha Region.
Delivered on November 24 this year, the speech was published in The Citizen newspaper edition of Wednesday, November 28, 2018.
Titled ‘Developing Great Leaders for Africa’s Next , the article detailed the need for a leadership paradigm shift from leaders who are constantly trapped in the peer house of looking in the past; in the rear-view mirror and short-sightedness into leaders who look beyond the horizon of the nation.
Reading all that made me remember the first generation of pan-African Leaders: the Patriarchs of the African Continent leadership who led Africa out of colonial oppression – and wanted a strong united Africa.
That first generation of leaders of the African Continent included Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana; Patrice Lumumba of what was then ‘Congo-Kinshasa’ (Democratic Republic of Congo’ today); Ben Bella of Algeria; Sékou Touré of Guinea; and Léopold Senghor of Senegal.
Others were Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt; Nelson Mandela of South Africa; Julius Nyerere of Tanganyika/Tanzania; Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya; Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia; Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia – to just mention a few.
These were Great Leaders who influenced and inspired their people. Their leadership exhibited a very high level of emotional intelligence that inspired people to work hard.
The influence of such great leaders is still felt in their respective nations and across Africa. For instance, nineteen years after the death of the Father of the Nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere (1922-99), his influence on Tanzanians is evermore alive – as if Mwalimu were still alive.
Likewise, after five years without Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), his influence and inspiration over his people in South Africa and Africa in general is more vivid than ever.
These influential leaders believed in a pan-African movement; a vision that sought to get Africa out of neo-colonial economic bondage by pushing hard the vision for uniting the African nation-states into one grand nation with grand economic muscle: the United States of Africa.
Their ‘departure from the scene’ – so to say – left the African Continent in a deepening, astronomical leadership black-hole. Since then, the challenge of leadership on the Continent has been astronomical, too!
The leadership tumult is expressed in the form of a throng of African rulers who take on a narrow, nationalistic view of leadership thus denying space for the promotion of regional and international economic cooperation.
Again, some are overwhelmed by the rise of globalization and democratization in Africa, and they spend a considerable amount of time and effort fighting same, instead of forging unity and brotherhood to encourage the unity of nations; indeed unity of the African Continent.
Regarding implementation of the objectives of the Organization for African Unity (OAU; today’s African Union: AU) that were designed by the Patriarchs of African unity to unite Africa into a great nation…
Often, current leaders have turned the AU into a leader’s kiosk in which to exchange notes on globalization challenges – and a place to lament about the neo-colonial grip, instead of being an institution that would lead to the attainment of a unity of the African countries.
The cry for a leadership paradigm shift by Prof. Ndalichako at this time is indeed justified. We need a new generation of leaders who would provide an inspiring leadership to catapult Africa into an economic freedom from neo-colonialism.
Africa needs a new kind of leaders – and, in her speech, Prof. Ndalichako sought to awaken the rulers from their deep slumber, thus keeping Africa in the dungeons of economic bondage.
Ndalichako counsels graduates in leadership from ESAMI not to keep Mother Africa in her hour of need. Instead they must be the kind of leaders who are visionary enough to transform the African economic landscape onto a vibrant new economic trajectory.
The Education Minister envisioned the future of a different type of leaders who must look beyond the horizon as opposed to being trapped in a leadership style that does not meet the need to redeem the African Continent from its persisting neo-colonial socio-economic bondage.
In this respect – as theories of leadership exert – leaders wanting to succeed must acquire and develop the important emotional excellence (EQ) behavioral trait to be able tp incentivise and inspire people to freely follow their leaders.
Leaders must be relational enough to reach out and inspire the people they lead. ‘Emotionally-intelligent’ leaders are often visionary leaders who inspire others to work hard and create wealth in a nation.
Prof. Ndalichako counselled the ESAMI graduates to be leaders who are always emotionally-intelligent, and who are ready to effectively deal with any situation thrown at them. They must be to be leaders who are able, willing and ready to build leadership muscle through appropriate coaching and mentorship.
The Minister further encouraged the graduates to acquire a global perspective – and are yet able to build a strong grounding in local insights; leaders with the ability to build across industries and across countries more than ever before.
Great leaders who have walked the Earth have shown time and again that leadership is a special skill that is acquired by growing from a position in which they were trapped and into a people-centered leader of pinnacle influence over the people – usually doing so through the ability to mentor teamwork with an intuition to listen, take and digest advice.
Good leaders are those who are able to lead by heart and soul – not by dread and physique.
On the aforementioned leadership traits that Prof Ndalichako encouraged the graduates to be different, she said: “…You will need to engage in more collective leadership than hero; and, as future leaders, you are tasked with becoming different – and being better than your past peers.
“You must be different from your past peers… Among other things, you must develop resilience; you must balance short- and long-term options. You must keep a horizontal and vertical outlook… We need pioneers. Be those pioneers…!”
In concluding this article on the precious advice given by Prof. Ndalichako to the trained leaders at ESAMI on a leadership paradigm shift in Africa: I am reminded of the words of the father of the nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. Speaking on higher education in 1960, Mwalimu reminded the elite that they were educated to offer sacrificial leadership to redeem their people from developmental predicaments.
“…Those who receive this privilege, therefore, have a duty to repay the sacrifice which others have made. They are like the man who had been given all the food available in a starving village in order that he might have strength to bring supplies back from a distant place…”