The leadership of any country is one of the most crucial factors in determining the overall success of the country. This is especially considering that it has a bearing on the allocation of resources. However, there are variations in the forms of government that different countries enjoy. It goes without saying that this is one of the factors that have contributed to variations in development. This disparity is most evident in African countries, most of which have been lagging behind in terms of development. Questions emerge as to exactly what characteristics African countries should take into account in voting for their leaders. It is worth noting, however, that there is no blueprint as to the features that should be there. In fact, no feature would be sufficient in ensuring appropriate leadership. Nevertheless, they are necessary for proper leadership and growth of the country.
Although education, charisma, and popularity may be attractive qualities while voting for a leader, it is paramount to note that they might not be sufficient to guarantee efficient leadership. Leadership in Africa has been characterized by poor and inefficient leadership systems, which have undermined the potential of some countries have in terms of resources. For instance, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Zimbabwe have been under forms of leadership which have run the countries to the ground despite their natural resources endowment. These countries represent by far over 80 percent of sub Saharan countries, which have been experiencing repressive forms of leadership for approximately the last thirty years. Majority of the dictators who have ruled African countries appear to be indifferent to the welfare and progress of the people and the country. Such hypocritical leaders have plunged their countries into political violence, and always blame losses for their countries negative experience.
However, despite the few dictatorial political systems existing in some African countries, it is noteworthy that there have been efficient and effective African leaders in recent times. While African countries are suffering from poor infrastructure, inflation, unemployment, poor healthcare and low education standards, there are selective leaders with strong character who strive to overcome these difficulties. Adherence to the rule of law and upholding principles of democracy are fundamental factors to consider while voting for a leader. For instance, in Kenya, President Mwai Kibaki has rejuvenated the education sector through the provision of free primary and secondary education. The country has experienced tremendous infrastructural growth, as well as, motivation to small scale business through the removal of economic barriers. The country, under the leadership of Mwai Kibaki, has seen exponential economic growth of up to 6 percent in comparison to the dictatorial era of President Moi. The progress that the country has made has been attributed to the leadership style adopted by President Kibaki. Being an economist and having excellent personal ideals, President Kibaki transformed the country’s economic growth and set it on a development path.
While education credentials may be vital for a quality African leader, it is noteworthy that it might not be sufficient. President Mugabe of Zimbabwe is viewed as one of the best educated African leaders, but his leadership has not yielded what could be expected from such an intellectual person. The president has been in power for over 27 years, and there is a likelyhood of him being re-elected due to the power of incumbency. In addition, Mugabe’s cabinet has been constituted overtime by intellectuals who failed to alleviate poverty and injustices in the country.
Moreover, it is paramount when voting, for a leader, to put into considering his view of the rule of law and the value of public participation. A leader who upholds the rule of law ensures democracy and free expression of opinions, which are vital to propel a country towards development. In Africa, for instance, the leadership style of President Kagame has transformed the economy and welfare of the citizens of Rwanda. Being an expert in management, President Kagame has portrayed his skills by ensuring participation of the citizens in the development of the country. The president has also been praised for his devotion in upholding the rule of law. This has ensured equitable distribution of resources in all parts of the country. His leadership style uplifted the country from a remnant of civil war to an internationally recognized success.
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Lastly, Africans should be on the look out to ensure that they vote for leaders who are charismatic, visionary and patriotic. Majority of African countries are rich in terms of natural resources, and have the potential to transform their economies and the welfare of their people. The South African president Jacob Zuma has been viewed as a charismatic leader with the power to address and unite people. His love for his country has motivated him to work towards the betterment of the country and its people’s welfare.
Although many African countries have been under dictatorial leadership systems, it is worth noting that the trend is changing. Owing to the visionary, intelligent, charismatic, and patriotic leaders, few African countries are making development progress. It is imperative for African citizens, to vehemently reject dictatorial leaders, and ensure they vote in leaders who can transform their welfare and stimulate economic growth.
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