Tag Archives: African leaders

The case of the anti (Part 1)

So President Museveni signed the anti-homosexuality bill into law the other day. No surprises there. This is after all the same guy who earlier this year said that “homosexuals are “abnormal” beings who can be “rescued” through economic empowerment.” Because obviously homosexuality is both the shield from poverty and avenue to wealth. The president is really trying to tell us that people not only choose to be homosexuals but they do so for economic reasons. Really though!? How exactly does this make sense Mr. President!? And they need to be “rescued”!? What exactly are you rescuing them from? Are they in captivity? How do you rescue a person from their own  truth!?

After signing the bill into law, the president gave a speech and said that homosexuality is a Western import. This a view that is shared by many other Africans unfortunately. How can you import sexual orientation though? Is that even a possibility? The irony is that the people who shout the loudest about homosexuality being a Western import conveniently forget that their anti-homosexual tendencies are fueled by some Western Evangelical groups. So I guess some Western groups can influence our collective opinion but not others huh!? Bag of contradictions much!? So homosexuality is unAfrican but putting our noses in others sexual affairs is not!?

Why can’t we just accept people for who they are!? If you were born a heterosexual good for you. If you were born a homosexual good for you. We each need to live our own truths. Why police and outlaw homosexuality? There are no awards for such acts. It’s not going to improve your life expectancy or iron out one wrinkle from your forehead. It is not going to change the fact that there are pressing development issues that need to be addressed. Politicians, like Museveni, use such hate-filled laws to distract the population from their shortcomings as leaders. While you are busy clapping for such leaders and cosigning their ridiculousness, messes are rapidly occurring and being swept under the rug in the background.

Live and let live folks. What two consenting adults do is between them.

 

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No Country for Women – Part 3

Just when you think our “leaders” are finally getting it together, they open their mouths and expose their lack of common sense and basic intellect.

Slightly over a week ago, William Kabogo, a Kenyan governor, decided to give a lesson, let’s call it “Challenges to Socio-Economic Progress 101,” to a crowd in his county that had gone to witness him launch a water project. The remarks he made made me wonder who exactly elected this guy and why. For it is impossible to disguise such stupidity. Politicians have doctorates in being chameleons, that I know. However, there is a certain level of stupidity that quite simply cannot be chameleoned (yes, I invented a word) away. Surely, how did the electorate miss this man’s brand of stupid!?

Here are some of the remarks that he made as reported by the Daily Nation.

“…and you young women should find husbands and get married because you are the cause of all these problems we are having yet there are men all over the place.” Oh OK. So the existence of women is the reason why there is unemployment, poverty, poor infrastructure, inadequate health services and lack of water, among others!? And men are magically the solution to all these problems!? And getting married will allow the men to unleash their problem solving skills and propel communities forward!? Obviously the only aspiration young women have is to get married, right!? Yeah, that’s definitely the most effective way to eliminate problems faced not only by the governor’s county but the whole country! Really though governor!? Please miss us with that craziness. That is nothing but chewed up grass.

“Once you get to 35 and you don’t have a husband, you should find out what’s wrong with you because you are on the wrong path, isn’t it? Now we’ll start the practice where if you want to get elected, you declare your intention with your wife or husband at your side.” Again, when did the singular goal of every woman become getting a husband!? So if you are not married then you are on the wrong path and doomed to fail at life!? Ha…spare us the lies governor. There are millions of single women who are thriving in all aspects of their lives. And what’s this about declaring your intention with your wife or husband at your side!? Because what does that prove? What is the correlation between being married and being a great leader!? That’s right…absolutely none. There are any unmarried people who excel as leaders. Heck in some cases they even perform better than their married counterparts.

“Someone who is able to manage a home is equally able to run the affairs of the people. But if you cannot manage a home, yet there is usually no cause for worry in a home…can you manage public affairs?” Eh eh…clearly his insanity has no quota. There are plenty of people who are great at the home front but not so much so on the leadership front. Again, there is no correlation between the two. If his statement was even remotely true then every married person would be an excellent leader.

Some of these politicians are simply exhausting. Sometimes I think it is a tactic they use. They keep us so distracted by their ridiculousness and scandals that we don’t notice that they are actually too busy not fulfilling the promises they made when running for office.

What’s equally appalling is that there were people in the crowd cheering him on and cosigning his craziness!? Really!? Is that where we are as a society!? Don’t get me started on the reporter who had this to say about the governor’s remarks, “These would have passed for a set of innocuous statements or advice from the governor had the facts and context not been different.” Ala! In what context would these remarks have passed as harmless or advice!? Please tell us.

On leadership + African (read Kenyan) leaders

I came across this tweet by The Elders, a group of independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights, that got me thinking: “How can we encourage leaders who put common human values above their own interests?”

Their question is not specific to a particular region but I immediately thought of African leaders because a good number of them are driven by their own interests. Why is it that we continuously end up with such leaders? We, the voters, are partly to blame. We vote along ethnic lines instead of qualifications and a person’s past records. In our myopic vision, we sell our votes for quick short-term returns, and sweep the long-term repercussions of such actions under the proverbial rug. The other share of the blame belongs to these life-long leaders who take draconian measures to ensure that they, and theirs, remain in power. Such leaders are puzzling. They want to remain in power but are not even moderately interested in fulfilling the responsibilities that come with holding those positions. Doesn’t it bother them at all that their presence doesn’t enhance their constituents’ lives…that it in fact makes them worse? But I digress…

Back to the question, how can we encourage leaders who put common human values above their own interests? A change of attitude is needed. For a long time, political positions have been seen as money making machines. Sadly, this is an attitude that has been passed on from one generation to the next, particularly with the “it’s our turn to eat” concept. This has largely been due to the precedent set by previous leaders. People get into office, redirect public funds into their personal accounts, enrich their relatives and sometimes their communities, and then sit back and buff their nails. It became clear that the only way a community would progress is if one of their own was in a position of power. This issue can also be tackled by enacting laws that ensure leaders cannot personally benefit from public funds and their positions. This will deter the I-am-posing-as-a-leader-just-so-I-can-get-rich-quick-and-live-la-vida-loca individuals lurking out there.

With attitude change comes a shift in behavior. If we move away from “it’s our turn to eat” then we are more likely to vote based on successful leadership potential and past performance records. This will enable us to hold leaders accountable, me thinks. We won’t tolerate their nonsense, until the end of time, just because they are from our community and they occasionally throw money at us. If they fail to deliver, then in the next election cycle, we use our vote to replace them with people who are ready to get the work done.

Maybe we should try pegging reelection to performance. If a leader is a non-performer during their time in office then they don’t qualify to run for office again. Their performance could be evaluated based on their impact on socio-economic  and political development within their constituency. For example, if your constituency doesn’t have functioning infrastructure when you get into office and it still does not have functioning infrastructure at the end of your term, then you don’t qualify to run for reelection.

Lastly, shouldn’t there be a limit to the number of times a person can run for reelection? Some of our leaders have turned their positions into lifelong careers. The problem with this is that they get to a point where they become complacent and take the position for granted. Limiting them also allows fresh blood to be injected into the system every now and then. Additionally, a time limit will prevent leaders from sleeping on the job term after term, and baiting their constituents with “I will pull up my socks just give me one more chance” promises.

Thoughts!?

 

African Proverbs, Irony and Leaders

Every day BBC Africa tweets an African proverb. Today’s proverb, sent from Uganda, is “You do not punish a fish by throwing it in water.” Deep stuff – when you really think about it – as most proverbs tend to be.

Isn’t it ironic that it is an African proverb? Considering the fact that we, Africans, seem to have a knack for punishing fish by throwing it in water. What am I on about?

Well, let’s take our “leaders” for example. Every election year, they make these grand promises about how they will transform our countries and improve our lives. We gladly vote for them. Once in office, they swiftly switch to the corruption lane and take the exit to personal wealth accumulation. We spend the rest of their term waiting for them to reassure us that they still have our best interests at heart. We hope that they will make an effort to fulfill just one promise or at the very least feign interest in fulfilling even half of that promise. But nothing. They continue to busy themselves with themselves until the next election when they pound the campaign trail with reworded promises. We vote for them again and the cycle continues. We fail to hold our leaders accountable. Instead we reward them for their inaction by putting them back in to the very positions that they use for their own benefit and our detriment.

Wouldn’t we be better served by using our vote  to ensure the progress of our communities? By voting back in only those leaders who are efficient and doing a great job? By denying leaders who are enemies of progress any audience come election time? By voting in terms of performance and legitimate sustainable plans instead of ethnic relations? By realizing that the culture of accept and move on will not get us anywhere? By asking ourselves what kind of a society we would like to live in and then working to build it?