May is Africa month, and for those of you who know your history, you would know that this month was inspired by the formation of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) in 1963 on 25 May, which essentially stands for the advancement of African citizens. The 25th of May is also a public holiday in some parts of Africa such as Benin, and it is known as Africa day.
This is historically important because Africa was becoming independent of colonial rule during the late 20th century. This highlighted the initial step into liberalism, which ought to protect the rights of individuals in a sovereign state. While Haile Selassie hosted the formation of this union to de-colonialize Africa as its main aim which it achieved, the post-colonial era that had just moved in the direction of liberalism and a past filled with bloodshed. This blood ultimately could not be washed clean as the OAU has been lambasted with a lack of faith in leadership. Things such as human rights violations kept occurring, as well as a rise in dictatorship, however the union did not intervene, owing to its policy on non-intervention. Quality leadership is needed now more than ever and the focus for this blog is leadership.
I would like to elaborate a bit more on Fred Swanikers TED talk’s video on his theory on Africa’s leaders. Please find the link below.
Mr Swaniker talks about the different generations of leadership in Africa. The first generation he speaks of, are the liberators of colonial rule, so in the case of the Congo/Zaire we are talking about Patrice Lumumba (President on 24th June 1960) and anyone that had a similar role in another state. Unfortunately for the Congo, this period only lasted for less than three months
Second generation we have the agents of havoc. Africa’s misleader’s. Sticking with the Congo and the example from the video we have Joseph Mobutu Sese Soko (President in 1965 November 24th). The militant leader who was aligned with the colonial Belgium of the Congo. He successfully detained Lumumba and was eventually shot dead by the firing squad (17th January 1961).This man ruled for three decades of human rights violations , corruption and nepotism. On paper he seems like bad news.
Third generation which is termed the stabilizing generation. Here we have leaders that are not perfect but are trying to fix the mess created during the times of havoc. Here I can think of Joseph Kabila (26 January 2001). In 2002 with the aid of South African President Thabo Mbeki, the 2002 Peace agreement was signed in Sun City South Africa by neighbouring rebel groups Rwanda and Uganda that killed Josephs father and previous president Laurent Kabila. This for me is a step in the right direction for stability.Certainly a lot more to be said about his lenghtened presidency and the state of the country but its a start.
Now hopefully with the help of our stabilizer’s and the help from Fred Swaniker’s organisation “African Leadership Academy” generation 4 of Africa’s leaders will emerge and will bring the transformation age. President Obama said it and Mr Swaniker touches on this same point as well. Strong institutions have to be formed in order to limit the powers of Africa’s “big men” from retaining too much power and causing havoc. Secondly apart from strong institutions this generation must bring prosperity for Africa, especially those left estranged by the previous leaders. This is possible and it is happening, please go check out the video to see the young 18 year old Leticia from Kenya.
God Bless Africa (Nkosi Sikelela IAfrica), guide her leaders and give her peace.