Africa : Undermining Its Own Survival

Realised by: Mourad Hasbaoui

Researcher on Political Science

Despite 50 years of political and governance independence, Africa’s goal and hope remain unfortunately unfulfilled.
A majority of the African countries have been mostly under the control of the military, where there are acute corruption, nepotism, and deep penury. Such corruption undermines the rule of law, transparency, accountability, and governmental efficiency. Nevertheless, for Africa to advance politically, economically and socially, effective leadership is the sine qua non.

Effective political leadership in Africa is one of the most observed and least understood concepts in politics. A myriad of research papers, articles and books have been written on this very subject. Harry Truman, the 33rd President of the United States underlined that “Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better”.

Before delving into this concept, it is primordial to give a clear definition and point out the two different types of leaders.

 According to Joseph C Rost who is a distinguish scholar in leadership studies underlines in his book “ Leadership for 21st century “that they are 221 definitions of leadership published in books, articles and projects between 1900 and 1990. Of course this number has quadrupled since then. Henry Kissinger pointed out in one of his famous speech that “leaders must invoke an alchemy of great vision”

The former National Security Advisor argues that a strong leader evokes power, and influence to change something common into something special.

 They are two types of leaders:

  • In one hand there is the-Instrumental leader– this type is predominating in Africa, thus leader uses power and influence to pursuit his private and personnel goal. Instrumental leader strives to accomplish his personnel interest over the general interest of his country. A grand example of this type is the late Colonel Muammar Khadafi of Libya and General Sani Abachi of Nigeria .The majority of leaders ended up treating their nations as individual private property. They have self-interest tendencies with both political brigandage and cleavage. During the Cold War, many African leaders would align with communist or the capitalist bloc to stay in power. Handfuls of leaders have voluntary left the office while the majority was either assassinated or killed during military coups.
  •  In the other hand there is the-Societal leader-this type is a more like an employee of the government, striving to solve his country’s problems. He is most concerned with the needs of the ruled and to gain their support. True leaders make things happen, they are change makers, problems solvers and goal oriented. He most likely will resign when he believes that he is not doing a good job or failing the hope of his countrymen. The American author John C Maxwell, has said “A good leader is a person who take little more than his share of the blame and little less than his share of the credit” This type of leader will keep the focus on spreading democracy in his country. Societal leader is very crucial to the survival of the nation. To stamp out the venality and, nepotism, tax payers should always elect people of great probity and patriotism to manage the affairs of the nation.

 In conclusion, the crookedness, poverty, and ethnic conflict have bedeviled Africa for many decades. the violence, the chaos and the economic recession has emasculated any desire to the development of this continent. Furthermore those challenges are the greatest inimical to the unity of Africa. The quality of leaders in Africa leaves so much to desire, there is an urgent need for an effective genuine political leadership in the is does guarantee the continuation of modern society.

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