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The Challenges of Leadership and Governance in Africa

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Abstract

This paper is a critical analysis of leadership and governance crises in Africa.
International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences
September 2012, Vol. 2, No. 9
ISSN: 2222-6990
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The Challenges of Leadership and Governance in Africa
Afegbua, Salami Issa
Department Of Public Administration, Faculty Of Management Sciences, Lagos State University,
Ojo, Lagos State, Nigeria
Adejuwon, Kehinde David
Department Of Public Administration, Faculty Of Management Sciences, Lagos State University,
Ojo, Lagos State, Nigeria
E-Mail: Ade_Kennytee@Yahoo.Com
Abstract
This paper is a critical analysis of leadership and governance crises in Africa. It argues that
Africa’s failures have come about largely as a result of frequent leadership change, lack of
ideology, policy reversal and weak institutional patterns. The paper also examines the
leadership selection process in Africa and that the leadership selection process in Africa takes
the imposition pattern and that African leaders have frequently come to their position with
limited experience. Hence, the decline in moral and discipline caused by bad policies, eroded
professional standards and ethics and weakened the system of governance. The paper lay
emphasis on leadership and governance in some selected African countries. The paper
observes that for Africa to overcome the crises of leadership and governance in the continent,
those on whom the burden of leadership will fall in the future must fully comprehend their
responsibilities, duties and obligation. They must also be exposed and be prepared to face the
challenges of leadership in developing society. Since the long term salvation of developing
countries depends on the quality of its future leaders. The paper concludes that only leadership
that has maximum empathy for the people can be relevant to the qualitative movement of
Africa.
Introduction
Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth. A call for a
focus on leadership and governance is timely, important and no doubt topical, reflecting the
worldwide thrust toward political and economic liberalization. Throughout the whole world,
there has been an urgent desire among various people and government for unity, justice, peace
and stability. The resurgence of this desire is not only explicable through their political policies
alone; but also it is reflected in the social and economic policies (Obasola, 2002:9). In fact, most
constituted governments in Africa have been undergoing serious and deepening politico-
economic crisis. These problems generated by political, social and economic instability and the
prevalence of ethnic, communal and religious crises, which have bedeviled Africa, call our
attention to the problems of leadership and governance in the continent. In other words, the
staggering wave of violence, insecurity, increasing crime wave, economic recession, coupled
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with the break in law and order are the attributes to the problem of leadership and governance
in Africa. Therefore, the quest for good leadership is a sine-qua-non for governance and
sustainable development.
A governance approach highlights issues of state responsiveness and accountability, and the
impact of these factors on political stability and economic development. For too long, social
scientists dealing with Africa’s development have concentrated on economic issues,
overlooking the highly important political dimension of the process (Bratton and Rothchild,
1992:263)
The use by African state elites of arbitrary and repressive measures and their inability to apply
governmental regulations throughout the national territory is a sign of state weakness or
“softness”. Paradoxically, the independent African states consolidates power at the political
center and extracts considerable economic resources from society; yet it spends much of it
obtains on itself and lack the capacity to spur the country’s development as a whole. It is in light
of this, that Conrnwell (1995:15) summarizes the African leadership and governance crises as
follows:
the driving force behind Africa’s experiment with democracy came both from
ideology conviction and the growing impatience of an ever bolder public
consciousness, and from the related manner of the continent’s prevailing
economic woes.
On the other hand, the politically conscious urbanized, professional and studies
bodies began to rail against the continue failure of their rulers to match rhetoric
and promises to economic progress, for much of Africa had experienced a steady
decline in living standards through the 1970’s and 1980’s. On their part, the
World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other bilateral aid
donors also made it quite clear that if further financial assistance was to be
forthcoming. Africa’s governments had to give urgent attention to their human
right’s records. More specifically, they had to become politically more
accountable to their people, and curb corruption.
It is instructive to note that no nation has achieved meaningful development socially, politically
or economically without the input of or effective leadership (Obasola, 2002:10). Thus, in
contemporary discourse, the concept of leadership and governance has attracted a wider
spread interest as they serves as the pivot on which social, political and economic structures
rest. The numerous problems which have been bedeviling African states vis-à-vis ethnic and
communal clashes, increasing crime wave, drug trafficking, advanced fee fraud etc have been
blamed on ineffective leadership. While it is true that there have been apparent leadership and
governance crises in Africa, the last two decades has witnessed struggle to engender effective
leadership and governance in Africa.
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Statement Of Problem
Despite over forty years of political independence, Africa’s aspiration and hopes remain today
largely unfulfilled. The leadership question has become a recurring issue in the discourse on the
African project. Seteolu (2004:70) pointed out that the governing class has been target of
pillory, vilification, condemnation and disdain in view of the pervasive and persistent socio-
economic and political crisis. He stated further that the economic domain has been
characterized by huge external debt overhang, net capital flight, disinvestments, collapse of
social infrastructure, food crisis and insecurity, over-devalued national currency, pervasive
poverty, unpopular, repressive and alienating economic policies. It was recognized that Africa’s
failures have come about largely as a result of among other things; progressive distancing of
African from the masses of the people; inadequate preparation of the leadership that assumed
the responsibility to govern their countries.
African leaders have frequently come to their position with limited experience. Though most of
them have battled on, confronting their awesome problems of development and nation-
building essentially not only unprepared but unaided, their efforts have been at best only a
qualified success. There are no institutions in Africa devoted to preparing potential leaders with
a global outlook, leaders who will be able to cooperate within and across national, regional and
institutional boundaries. Furthermore, it is difficult if not impossible, in many African countries
to gain access to relevant and timely information on most national, regional and global issues.
Obasanjo (1993) noted that, it need to be realized that the morass of governance in Africa
emerged primarily as a result of lack of checks and balances in Africa’s system of governance. In
effect, for some African leaders, their nation ended up being treated as their individual
personal property. In other cases, a decline in moral and discipline caused or combined with
bad policies, eroded professional standards and ethics and weakened the system of
governance. Poor governance become the major challenge and source of Africa’s predicament
and socio-economic crises. Only a few African leaders have voluntary left office; most others
were assassinated or were disposed by military coups. In the past, many African leaders would
align or threaten to align with the “communist” bloc or “capitalist” bloc in exchange for the
support that allowed them to stay in power. It is against these backdrops, the critical appraisals
of the African crises often identify the leadership and governance as the major variables to
correctly historicize the nature, character and dimensions of the African problem.
Leadership And Governance: Conceptual And Theoretical Commentaries
The problem in an intellectual discourse of this nature is usually concerned with the definition
of terms. It is really very difficult to attempt a definition of leadership, or in other words it is
difficult to define what makes certain persons to be “leader”. For example, some researchers
define leadership in terms of personality and physical traits, while others believe leadership is
represented by a set of prescribed behaviors. Indeed, Rost (1991) found that there were 221
definitions of leadership published in books and articles between 1900 and 1990; a number
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that given the recent interest in leadership, has likely to doubled since his view. It is in light of
this that Ubegbe (1999:282) defines leadership in the following words;
Leadership is the process of creating the subordinates’ identification with
the group’s mission and creating their desires to achieve the group’s goal.
According to Graig (2005:132) leadership is defined as a social influence process in which the
leader seeks the voluntary participation of subordinates in an effort to reach organizational
goals. While Robert et al (2004) affirms that leadership involves a complex interaction among
the leader, the followers, and the situation.
With so many definitions of leadership, Hackman (2006) classified these conceptions into four
primary definitional themes; these are;
(a) Leadership is about what you are: this definitional theme focuses on leader traits and
attributes and is one of the oldest ways of conceptualizing leadership. This emphasis is
on identifying the characteristics that define natural or born leaders.
(b) Leadership is about how you act: From this perspective leadership is defined as the
exercise of influence or power. To indentify leaders, we need to determine who is
influencing whom. For instance Hersey (1984:14) defines leadership as “any attempt to
influence the behavior of another individual or group”.
(c) Leadership is about what you do: This definitional thread focuses on the role that
leaders play.
(d) Leadership is about how you work with others: This definitional theme emphasizes
collaboration. Leaders and followers establish mutual purposes and work together as
partners to reach their goals (Poulin, et al 2007:302).
In the views of Aguda (1995:26) a person may attain the position of leadership in one of several
ways. The first method is self imposition, which is totally devoid of constitutionality. Secondly, a
group of persons may forcefully impose a leader on the generality of people. Nigeria, for
instance have of course become aware of this since 1966. A person may come to the position of
leadership through a demonstration of leadership qualities over a long period of time. Examples
of such are Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Kwame Nkurumah of Ghana, Robert Mugabe of
Zimbabwe, Sertse Khama of Botswana, Kamuzu Banda of Malawi, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, and
Julius Nyerere of Tanzania.
The concept of “Governance” on the other hand is not new. It has been around in both political
and academic discourse for a long time, referring in a generic sense to the task of running a
government or any other appropriate entity, for example a nation. More recently, it has gained
particular significance in the literature on Africa development as a result, among other things,
of the World Bank (1989) identifying the crisis on the continent as one of governance. More
specifically, the Bank refers to such phenomena as the extensive personalization of power, the
denial of fundamental human rights, widespread of corruption, and the prevalence of
unelected and unaccountable government.
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The concept of governance, in fact, is simple. It is seen as a set of values, policies and
institutions through which the society manages economic, political as well as social processes at
different levels, on the basis of interaction among the government, civil society and private
sector. In essence, the concept of governance is not new and is probably as old as human
civilization. It broadly means the process of decision making and the process by which decisions
are implemented or not implemented. The concept of governance relates to the quality of
relationship between the government and citizens whom it serves and protects. Governance
could be define as one in which the concerned authority if any, exercises power, exerts
influence and manages the country’s social as well as economic resources leading to better
development. In a more precise manner we can say that governance is the way those with
power, use the power. Thus, governance has social, political, and economic dimensions (Sahni,
2003:1-2).
Governance is defined as the capacity to establish and sustain workable relations between
individual actors in order to promote collective goals (Chazan, 1992:122). It was further defined
by Galadima (1998:117) as;
a process of organizing and managing legitimate power structures, entrusted by
the people, to provide law and order, protect fundamental human rights, ensure
rule of law and due process of law, provide for the basic needs and welfare of the
people and the pursuit of their happiness.
Governance is the conscious management of regime structures with a view to enhancing the
legitimacy of public realm (Hyden, 1992:7). Governance consequently, is concerned with the
uncovering viable regime forms as well as degree of stateness the capacity to entrench the
authority of the central state and to regularize its relations with society. World Bank (1989:60)
defines governance quite narrowly as “the exercise of political power to manage a nation’s
affairs.” To Barkan (1992:263-264), governance involves less in the way of administrative
management and more in the way of political management; with its emphasis on developing
networks of reciprocity and exchange, governance increases the possibilities of accomplishing
more while spending less.
In the view of Srilatha (2003:86) governance means;
…the act and manner of managing public affairs. Through the process of
governance, the essential link between the civil society and state is established,
giving a shape to the way decisions are made for serving public interest. The
constitution and the laws provide the legal framework of governance. The
institutions embodying the governance process include the executive,
legislature, judiciary, army, bureaucracy, political parties and interest groups. It
is the moral principles and rules of conduct, having a bearing on both the legal
framework and the institutions, which basically determine the government and
the governed.
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Governance is legitimate in a positive sense when the government is installed by the people
through institution arrangements that are put in place by the people and when the
performance of the ruler is adjudge good and accepted by the people and when the people
have no power to remove the ruler in case of very grievous offence, such a government is
legitimate and democratic.
Although governance is practiced by political elites, it is manifest in the condition of citizenry.
This implies that a strong state is unlikely to emerge in the absence of a vibrant civil society. It
concerns the institutionalization of the normative values that can motivate and provide
cohesion to the members of the society at large (Hyden, 1992). Hyden’s efforts to
operationalize “governance” inevitably lead to associate good governance with democratic
values and procedures. Although Hyde’s concept of a governance realm is applicable to all
political system, it is addressed primarily to African polities because of breakdown of
governance across the continent (Barkan, 1992:167). It is no coincidence that the diminution of
the governance realm across Africa has accompanied the spread of personal rule.
Leadership is much studied field characterized by a variety of theories ranging from the simple
to the complex. The depth and breadth of theories in the field, as well as their complexity,
make it difficult for individuals to learn and apply leadership theory n meaningful and
productive ways (Callahan, et al 2007:146).
In this paper, theories shall be grouped into three broad categories, these are; Leader-focused
theories, Situational theories and Social dynamic theories.
Leader-focused theories are those that attempt to describe leadership through the
characteristics and behaviors of the leaders themselves. Early conceptions of leadership focus
on these behaviors and characteristics and includes trait approaches, leader skills, leadership
style, and power (Callahan, 2007:148). Traits approaches to leadership represent the earliest
attempts to understand why some people emerged as leaders and others did not. This school of
thought is often referred to as the “great man” approach to leadership because it suggested
that leaders had particular characteristics or traits that enabled them to emerged as leaders.
For decades, traits theories of leadership were criticized by scholars and left unstudied;
however, recognition of the fundamental importance of traits in understanding effective
leadership has reemerged, and traits have resumed an important role in the development of
full range leadership theories. The skill approach to leadership is also leaders-focuses; this
approach focuses on developable behaviors and skills that serve as hallmarks of effective
leaders (Sashkin, 2004; Northouse, 2004).
Leader style is another behaviorally oriented approach to understanding leadership that
suggests leadership can be categorized into two types of behavior; task and relationship
behaviors. However, subsequent interpretations have suggested that the most effective leaders
are those who engage in both task and relationship behaviors.
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Power theory according to Callahan, et al (2007:151) is the last leader- focused theory.
Although power is conceptually distinct from leadership, it nevertheless form the foundation
from which leadership emerges. This approach suggest that there are five essential forms of
power; reward, coercive, legitimate, referent, and expert.
Situational theories suggest that the situation itself serves to inform leader behaviors. They
includes contingency theory, path-goal theory and situational leadership theory.
Contingency theory compels leader style; either task or relationship oriented with levels of
control in situation itself serves to inform leader behaviors. This model of leadership suggests
that leaders who tend to be relationship oriented are more effective in situations that are
under control, and those who are task oriented are more likely to be effective when control is
either low or high (Fiedler, 1964).
Situational leadership theory of Hersey and Blanchard suggest that leader effectiveness and
choice of applied style is conditioned upon the task maturity of followers (Northouse, 2004). He
stated further that this maturity or development level, of the follower is based on the extent of
both the competence and commitment of the follower to accomplish a particular task.
Although this approach is widely used and is intuitively appealing, most validation attempts
have revealed little to no support for the theory or measurement instrument for situational
leadership theory.
Like situation and contingency theories, Path-goal theory is concerned with the ways in which
contexts influence the effectiveness of leadership. Because path-goal theory is grounded in
expectancy theory, meeting followers’ motivation needs serves as the catalyst for selecting an
appropriate leadership style in a given context (Callahan, et al 2007, 153). The task related
behaviors in House’s theory include directive and achievement –oriented behaviors identified
through the earlier university studies. The task and subordinate characteristics are influence by
the leader’s behavior.
Social Dynamic theories believe that the social dynamics of interactions between leaders and
followers play an important role in the enactment of leadership; this led to the development of
theories such as transformational leadership, leader-member exchange, and team leadership.
Leader-member exchange originally known as vertical-dyad linkage theory emphasizes the
interactions between leaders and followers, and it is the most effective when it looks
specifically at the relationship between leaders and followers (Northouse, 2004; Antonakis, et
al 2004). As development of theory progressed, the focus shifted to the process of leader
making through interactions with followers.
Transformational leadership is one of the most popular leadership theories in recent years. In
general, a hallmark of transformational leadership is the extent to which the leader influences,
or transforms, followers (Sashkin, 2004). Theories in this new paradigm of leadership center on
traits and behaviors of leaders, the situational context of leadership, and the relationships, and
the relationships between and among leaders and followers in the context.
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Team leadership focuses specifically on dynamics of leadership within the context of groups.
Like many of the other approaches to understanding leadership, the theory is closely connected
to relationship-oriented behaviors (Notrhouse, 2004). The team leadership model suggests that
the leader’s role is to determine when, and how, to intervene in the team’s dynamics to
improve team effectiveness.
Scholars have device a number of models to guide the study of governance. These are;
Monocratic and polycentric governance models. The Monocratic governance model hails from
Hobbes theory of the state, which holds that supreme authority to govern rests in the
Leviathan. In other words, monocratic governance implies a political system that is highly
centralized in terms of centralization of powers at the center. In that type of political system,
the principle of moonlighting takes preeminence as sub-units within the system only serve as
administrative coordinate that function primarily to strengthen the center (Oladoyin, et al,
2004:49-50). The main characteristics of the monocratic model according to them include the
adoption of a one-party state or where one party is the dominant party signifies a monocratic
order. The extent of a military regime is another indication of the existence of a monocratic
political order. Excessive centralization is nevertheless the main index of monocentricism.
Under this model, political centralization is one of the salient parameters to measure
centralization. Political centralization is a situation where there is absence of competitive
political parties. Only one political party dominates the political scene. The civic capacity to
react against policy decisions or influence are greatly minimized or outrightly absent. In political
sense, centralization manifest in military regimes with their policies of unity of command and
unity of control.
The monocratic model help some African political leaders pull a wide array of resources
together to generate a handsome quantum of national wealth for welfare programs. In a
monocratic order, popular participation is at the lowest ebb; might is right and the popular
theories of human right, public morality and legitimacy can be best described as luxuries. Since
the system does not favor popular participation, it is thus characterized by high-handedness,
occasional unrest, lack of press freedom, shrink space for civil society operations and contested
political legitimacy (Olowu, et al; 1995)
The Polycentric model on the other hand recognizes that within a metropolitan area, there exist
a multiplicity of jurisdictions and arenas, which can be appropriately conceived and described
as a polycentric political system. This model comprises diverse independent units that are
formally autonomous of each other and operate in a manner that recognizes the jurisdiction
and functions of other centres (Ostrom et al, 1961).
The polycentric model according to Oladoyin, et al (2004:60), is democratic and favors popular
participation. It is permissive of a multiplicity of decisions and authority centres. It actually
promotes a situation that is congenial for peace, cooperation and institutional integration.
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Under this model government ceases to be the main actor in governance. Instead, the shift is
unto the people. The government only exists and functioning as an umpire.
It is important to state that the features of monocratic order still pervades the political system
in Africa, albeit the practice of democratic governance. Therefore, for effective leadership and
governance in Africa, polycentric model should be applied to Africa’s political system.
The Challenges Of Leadership And Governance In Africa
The problem which troubles Africans most is the failure of political leadership. There are of
course failures in other domains, but these are traceable in the consciousness to political
leadership deficiencies. Seteolu (2004:74) summarizes the challenge from Nigerian perspective
thus;
The political elites is not a productive class, but rely on the control of state
structures to access economic rewards. The over politicization of the Nigerian
state is also understood in the context of the unmediated struggle for power,
influence and patronage. The nature of political contest ensured the emergence
of a local governing class without ideological commitment. Rather than pursue
political contests within ideological frameworks, politics became a contested
terrain for shallow, self-centered political gains.
The de-ideologisation of African politics means that aspirant political leaders do not see a
pressing need to state their macro-vision for the continent. There is no explicit formulation of
any systems values. The nature of Nigerian state evolved a predatory political class that was
concerned with power struggle, consolidation, alignment and realignment in the context of
hegemonic control… This is linked to the lack of ideology in the political space, monetization of
the political process, expand the basis of political participation and canvass alternative policy
agenda (Seteolu, 2004; Obi, 2000). Ake and Onoge (1995:53) also pointed out that;
Political leadership is parochial rather than national; and corruptly converts
national resources into its project of primitive accumulation. Ethnic diversity is
manipulated to stay afloat to the detriment of national cohesion. There is an
embarrassing lack of national heroes. The failure was usually explained either by
the easy manipulability of the cultural pluralist background, or by the “two
publics” antagonism.
The personalize nature of rule in so many African countries means not only that public policy
making lacks the logic and empirical content that typically characterizes such an activity in
order contexts but also that governance structures are largely informal and subject to arbitrary
change (Hyden,1992:23). Following the widespread abuses of civil and political rights by such
rulers as Idi Amin, Emperor Bokassa, and Macias Nguema in the late 1970’s, however, Africans
gradually began to recognize their significance. One of the most important messages coming
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out in literatures is that African government can no longer at will, by invoking the demand for
national unity; violate civil and political rights of their citizens.
Nigeria, which is the largest country in the continent of Africa has a dearth of genuine leaders.
Also equally relevant and important is the absence of political will. A political will is the
compelling force for sound leadership quality, the ability to do what is right, what is relevant
and what is attainable within the context of patriotic nationalism. Political will very often means
personal or group sacrifices. It implies the ability to implement policies that have a nationalistic
important and relevant without allowing pockets of interest to detract from what should
naturally be of national benefit. In contemporary Africa, Nelson Mandela represents that model
of leadership by personal sacrifice to redeem his people from servitude (Isekhure,1995:141-
142). In light of the above, Eze (1995:96) has this to say about leadership in Nigeria;
In considering the Nigerian situation, there seem to be certain issues in Nigerian
leadership which require experimental investigations. For instance, it has been
generally asserted that Nigerian management are marked by authoritarian
leadership characteristics and practices. They are said to have maintained a rigid
dictatorial approach, as well as master-servant, rider-horse relationship with
subordinates. In fact, it is been said that a Nigerian man is by nature and training
an autocrat who demands nothing but respect and obedience from his
subordinates, and those younger and lower in status than him. Also in public
sector, the leadership have been associated with certain undesirable traits such
as double- standards, pursuance of selfish goals, lack of seriousness and
indiscipline.
Most African leaders assumed their role with limited experience and training in the art and
science of directing and effectively managing the affairs of a modern state (Kamuntu,1993:103).
The challenge to African leaders is thus to develop the capacity that would enable us to strike a
balance between the values of African societies and the governance that our nations must
follow. However, the concern must be to blend the two rather than to treat them as if they
were mutually exclusive.
The political power in Africa became concentrated in one political party and finally in hand of
one leader. Making the rise of the supremacy of the office of the President over all organs of
government, most African Presidents enjoyed re-election in perpetuity without any
competition. Kamuntu (1993) observes further that consequent resistant to the concentration
of power to the hands of one man the President, was brutally suppressed with greater
violations of human rights, resulting in massacres and millions of Africans becoming refugees or
becoming displaced persons and many qualified African’s seeking employment opportunities in
foreign countries in search of personal security. Africa’s continuing crisis presents a tremendous
challenge to the continent and its leadership.
It is most unfortunate that political leadership aspirants in Africa do not see a pressing need to
state their macro vision for the continent. There is no explicit formulation of any systematic
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values. Political leadership in Africa is parochial rather than national; it corruptly converts
national resources into its project of primitive accumulation. Agbaje and Roberts (2002:154),
pointed out that:
post independence leaders in Africa not only personalized power but also
privatized the state for the purpose of primitive accumulation, clientelism,
repression and all forms of opposition. Instead of using the state for initiating
development, African leaders utilized it as a vehicle for terrorizing the
citizenry, thereby leading to the disengagement of the populace from the
public realm.
The above statement shows that leadership and their cohorts in Africa have simply privatized
the state for their selfish interest. Leadership in Africa is characterized by primodial parochial,
personalized and selfish tendencies, political brigandage, ethnic rivalry and cleavages,
clientelism and privatized state apparatuses. Indeed, respected, visionary leaders that are of
proven integrity are needed to captain the ship of the nations of Africa, such a leader of the
people must have vision and mission. He should incarnate all ideals, for which his party stands
and be able to actulise the promises of the party to the electorate (Adeola,2007:110-111).
Leadership or lack of it has been said to be a major bane of Africa. Africas have all agree that
the fundamental problem militating development in Africa is the poverty of leadership making
it the key issue even in the process of democratization. Thus, Adeola (2007:107) argues further
that;
The history of great nation have been linked to visionary and purposeful
leadership, be it in the advanced industrialized countries or developing nations.
Such leaders have played significant roles in the socio-economic development
and political emancipation of their countries. Closely linked to leadership is
ideology. In the absence of visionary leadership to give a clear-cut ideology, a
nation continue to lack orientation and commitment. Consequently, leadership
has failed to harness the resources and the ingenuity of the people for national
development.
The trouble with Africa is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically
wrong with the African character or political system in operation. The character of political
leadership became a problem as most of them lost or lacked control of effective leadership.
This led to the scramble and partition of state resources to suit their purpose.
An Assessment Of Leadership And Governance In Selected African States
In order to have a clear picture or understanding of leadership and governance crises in Africa.
The paper briefly examines leadership and governance in selected African countries.
Nigeria, is the “Giant of Africa”, the country became independent in 1960. Out of 48years of
independence, the country has been under the control of tyrannical and autocratic military
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dictators for about thirty years. The military employed all sorts of intimidation, aggressive and
elimination methods to remain and withhold the political power. Under the new dispensation,
the country seems to be experiencing nascent democracy though leadership into public and
political office still follow imposition pattern.
The political situation in Ghana is similar to that of Nigeria, for instance, since the country’s
independence in 1957; Kwame Nkurumah ruled the country until 1969 when his government
was toppled. Since then military ruled the country for almost twenty years (1979), Jerry
Rawlings ruled the country from 1981 and changed to President after 12 years in power
through a series of less-than-legitimate election before he handed over to John Kufor in 2001.
Zaire, formerly Congo-Kinshasa is a country in Africa that never experience stable democratic
governance as a result of despotic and tyrant leader. In 1960 Mobutu Sese Sekou terminated
the government of Patrick Lumumba in a bloody and gruesome manner. Mobutu a self
acclaimed life President of Zaire is one of the African leaders that overstayed their glorious day
in office until he was chased out of the country. While the present administration in Zaire is not
ready to give room for popularly elected leader.
Malawi is a small country in Africa where Kamuzu Banda became the head of state in 1966, and
proclaimed himself as “Life President” for the country and life Chairman for his party. The
human right records of the regime was so bad that Amnesty International (human rights group)
alerted the whole world on the frightening repression melted to opposition in the country.
In Zambia, President Kenneth Kaunda ruled for 27years, from 1977-1991 when his ambition to
become life president was cut short. Before President Frederick Chiluba was popularly elected
in the general election.
In Kenya, after the dearth of President Jomo Kenytta in 1977, Daniel Arap Moi became their
leader and ruled for years, he ruled autocratically and reject any reform that can pave way for
democracy in the country.
Also in Central African Republic, Emperor Jean Bedel Bokassa toppled the regime of President
David Dacko in 1966, since then he refused democracy to operate in the country. The
government of the country was nothing but family compound. He was sentenced to death and
later reversed to life imprisonment as a result of world leaders and international organizations
plea.
Liberia was founded in 1847 by Americans for freed slaves. The country was described as the
oldest in democracy in Africa until 1980 when Samuel Doe killed William Tolbert who have been
in government since 1951 with President Tubmen in a bloody coup. Samuel Doe ruled for ten
years and turned Liberia to a personal courtyard, until 1990 when he was brutally murdered by
Prince Yormie Johnson version of rebel. Then rebel version of Charles Taylor ruled the country
in a tyrannical and despotic manner, until recently when peace returned to Liberia, and the
country became the first country in Africa to produce female President in a general election.
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The foregoing is a pointer to the fact that in Africa, most countries are still been ruled by the
tyrants, as a result of this, development is very far from the continent. This menace has dogged
almost all African countries since independence that the whole continent is riddled with
despots. Most of the leaders have decided to remain in power and aim to retain number one
seat of their countries. Most of these despotic leaders have intentionally render democracy
useless in their countries simply because they want to remain in power.
Recommendations
This study has highlighted a number of leadership challenges in Africa. It is sad to observe that
Africa’s leadership selection process takes the imposition pattern directly or indirectly.
Worrisome too is the fact that the Africa’s political formation is along tribal groupings and
ethnic aggregations thus visionary leaders are dropped while mediocres are often selected or
imposed on the masses. In view of the above, therefore, the following suggestions are
proffered to help to ameliorate the seemingly endemic leadership and governance problems in
the continent so as to achieve a measure of credibility and purposeful leadership.
The immediate task of leadership in Africa is to restore hope. To pull our people out of the pit in
which they have found themselves. To rescue the people from the ravages of military
dictatorship and from the ruling clique. The challenges before leadership in Africa are
enormous, serious urgent and important. A leader of Africa has work to do. He will need vision,
organizing ability, wisdom, administrative skills and more.
The search for leadership in Africa is a search for social justice, which automatically, eliminates
social injustice. The principle of justice is to give each person or group what is his/her due and
to demand the contribution of each on the basis of equal consideration.
Africans should learn to deal sincerely and honestly with one another so that the question of
mistrust and suspicion amongst the various ethnic groups in the continent would be wiped
away. It is only then that any qualified African can be elected into leadership positions without
mistrust, suspicion, acrimony or reference to his/her ethnic or religious background.
The leadership search as opined by Seteolu (2004:75) should interrogate the option of
independent candidature as a basis to attract professionalism, intellectual, business and
industrial elite to contest political office without partisan platform. This option will likely
enhance the quality of politicking, promote issue-based politics and recruit new entrants into
the political class with somewhat personal integrity and pedigree, and reduce the cost of
political power. The independent candidate as a political type will more likely suit the local
levels of governance where community attachment, honor and integrity as opposed to party
influence or domination are the determinants of political choice.
Africa needs leadership which has the “mental magnitude” to decode the crisis and the ideological
commitment to uplifting the material and cultural aspirations of the broad spectrum of the people.
The challenges for Africa and its leadership endowed with courage, determination, tolerant and
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honesty and the creation and promoting the process of endowing political institutions with
necessary legitimacy which is their ultimate safeguard against violent overthrow (Kamuntu,
1993:109). Africa cannot afford to continue with ill-prepared and unassisted leaders. Those on whom
the burden of leadership will fall in future must fully comprehend their responsibilities, duties, and
obligations. They must be exposed and there must be a carefully planned preparation for leadership
if they are to meet the challenges that will face them. As recommended by African Leadership Forum
(1993), that one solution is to hold periodically the “African Leadership Forum”- a series which may
be national, sub-regional, regional, and international in dimension and may vary in duration. The
purpose is to acknowledge the awareness of young, potential African leaders, playing special
emphasis on diagnosing apparent failures of the past; as well as an understanding of multiple
dimensions and complex interrelations of local, national, regional and global problems; and seeking
possible approaches at proffering solutions to them.
The crucial elements in the good governance being called for in Africa are
accountability,
transparency, predictability, human rights etc. African can develop the common values
necessary for the governance of Africans societies which in essence must be rooted in the spirit
of cooperation, tolerant and adherence to constitutional rules and procedures
(Obasanjo,1993:100).
The long term salvation of African therefore, depends on the quality of its
future leadership. In this context, apart from improved quality of education so as to secure able
future leadership
, the present leader of Africa have
a special responsibility to develop a new
generation of leaders, tested in our era. This is the new challenge to Africa’s leaders and a
necessary measure for Africa’s future that can sustain stability and development.
As noted by Oputa (1995), leadership in an multi-ethnic and multi-religious society like Africa
should adopt secularism as its magna carta. It should not be seen to unduly attached to a
particular religion. The necessary distinction should be drawn between the private religions life
of the leaders and his public image as a leader of many different religious groups. This will give
the leadership the credibility it so much requires to inspires and win the confidence of the
entire citizenry. He goes on to say that leadership should pursue useful economic policies which
will benefit the continent. The acid test of any policy or program is the extent to which it
conduces to the welfare of all.
Conclusion
Leadership is complex and, in practice, it is not as clear cut as the present analyses may seem to
indicate. As Collins (2001) noted a paradoxical combination of humility and professional will are
important in leadership success. When we talk about leadership, it must be understood purely
in the context of its capacity to resolve problems and lead the people to their destined goal and
national objective. Africa in this context does not have any identifiable goal and objective. So,
when people stumble into leadership positions in this kind of climate, they find themselves
dazed and appear as a flotsam in the sea whose destination cannot be determined. Even when
such a leaders has reasons for assumption of leadership which may appear patriotic at first
instance, actual implementation often turns out to reveal all the hidden motives
(Isekhure,1995:141).
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It has been said that the trouble in Africa is with leadership. People have agreed that there is
nothing wrong with our climate, with our environment, our rich endowments in natural
resources. A relevant leadership concerned with the people as the centerpiece will have to
raise the value and equality of citizenship. Such a leader will, of necessity, require the constant
deepening of the democratic milieu for co-leading with the people. Only leadership that has
maximum emphathy for the people can be relevant to the qualitative movement of Africa. The
leadership qualities we have indicated above as relevant to contemporary African situation,
have not been pulled out of the magician’s hat neither the products of an imaginative
voluntarism.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the quest for leadership is an undeniable fact in human
history, especially in matters relating to the management of both human and material
resources. Therefore, it should be noted that the success or otherwise of any country depends
on the effectiveness or otherwise of its leaders. This shows that leadership is of essence in any
human setup and it is tantamount to a stable polity and development. Therefore it is our belief
that democracy has a role to play in helping to salvage Africa from the nagging problem of
leadership. The quality of leadership in Africa leaves much to be desired. There is very urgent
need now for able, true and efficient leadership. Such leadership must be in the hands of
qualified, competent, enlightened and honest persons for the overall development of Africa.
That search may not end until we get principled followership and principled leadership resulting
into principled governance of Africa.
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The aim of this chapter is to offer a synthesis of current research-based knowledge about top-level leadership. The author includes in this review most of the major approaches to transformational leadership. The integration of these varied approaches centers on the author's own approach. This approach, "visionary leadership theory," which the author now more often refers to as "leadership that matters" (Sashkin & Sashkin, 2003), is itself a synthesis of research and theory by those within as well as distant from the field of leadership research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The leader is an individual in the group, who directs and coordinates task-relevant group activities, or who, in the absence of a designated leader, automatically performs these functions in the group. This chapter provides an overview of the framework for the understanding of factors which determine a leader's personality attributes and its impact on group performance, the development of integrative model, and empirical support for the model. A leader is either appointed by a representative of the larger organization of which the group is a part; or is elected by the group; or in case there is neither an elected nor an appointed leader, he can be identified as most influential on task-relevant questions of a sociometric preference questionnaire. The leader and member abilities are among the most important predictors of group performance, and a high correlation between the leader's ability score and the group's performance presumably reflects the degree of leader influence over the task itself. The negative correlations suggest that the leader's influence, or his contribution to the task is minimal. A leader can be trained to modify these attitudes, but considerable effort might be required on the part of many individuals to make them. The leader's task functions and his therapeutic attitudes are highly speculative, and extensive future research is required to elucidate the role, which these therapeutic attitudes play in the group process.
Democracy, Good Governance and Constitutionalism in Africa
  • S References Adejumobi
References Adejumobi, S. (2004). "Democracy, Good Governance and Constitutionalism in Africa", in Odion-Akhaine, S (eds), Governance: Nigeria and the World, Lagos: CENCOD.