LEADERSHIP OF A NATION
This page is dedicated to drawing attention to the leadership issues facing Africa and their impact on development and quality of life across the continent. These issues go to the root of the mission of Openmind Foundation.
Without a doubt, the state of African countries and peoples today has been shaped to some extent by external forces:
- over 400 years of both Trans-Atlantic and Arab slave trade,
- nearly a century of colonial domination,
- decades of post-colonial interference and manipulation,
- an unjust international economic system,
- predatory practices of multi-national corporations, etc.
It is equally an undeniable fact that the condition of African countries and peoples has been made “immeasurably worse by internal factors such as:
- misguided leadership,
- systemic corruption,
- capital flight,
- economic mismanagement,
- senseless civil wars,
- political tyranny,
- flagrant violations of human rights and military vandalism, among others” (Yaw Sappor).
Leadership is at the root of African problems. Let’s start this review on leadership with a powerful extract from an article written by Robert I. Rotberg and published by the Council on Foreign Relations.
Africa has long been saddled with poor, even malevolent, leadership: predatory kleptocrats, military-installed autocrats, economic illiterates, and puffed-up postures. By far the most egregious examples come from Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zimbabwe — countries that have been run into the ground despite their abundant natural resources…Such leaders use power as an end in itself, rather than for the public good; they are indifferent to the progress of their citizens (although anxious to receive their adulation); they are unswayed by reason and employ
poisonous social or racial ideologies; and they are hypocrites, always shifting blame for their countries' distress.
Under the stewardship of these leaders, infrastructure in many African countries has fallen into disrepair, currencies have depreciated, and real prices have inflated dramatically, while job availability, health care, education standards, and life expectancy have declined. Ordinary life has become beleaguered: general security has deteriorated, crime and corruption have increased, much-needed public funds have flowed into hidden bank accounts, and officially sanctioned ethnic discrimination — sometimes resulting in civil war — has become prevalent”