Leadership is more than politics: Lumumba

With many African states facing a leadership crisis in countries wherein corruption is rife, accountability is zilch while unemployment levels are sky-high, it is a self-defeating exercise to believe that problems can only be solved by politicians.

At the same time, leadership should not be conflated with politics, saying a distinction ought to be made between politics and leadership, as occupying political office does not necessarily make one a good leader and vice-versa.

These were the words of Kenyan professor Patrick Loch Otieno (PLO) Lumumba when he addressed a public gathering in Windhoek on Saturday, where local author and teacher, AugustinusNgombe launched his book titled 'Leadership and Knowledge'.

There is also the danger that when we talk about leadership, we invariably think leadership is about politics. And when we talk about leaders, we are inclined to believe that leaders are those in the political arena but leadership is larger than that, Lumumba said.

He said there is a current trend among African leaders particularly in the political arena begin to think they 'demigods' upon assuming office.

They begin to imagine that they have the monopoly of knowledge and wisdomleadership is about humility and recognising that you not leading yourself but you are leading others, he said.

Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo, one of the speakers on the night said leaders must be vigilant and ethical at all times.

There will always be those who offer you inducement in exchange for some time what really seems to be a career-enhancing proposition. But it ends up being a career-defeating proposition. Therefore, it is important as a leader to always be on the lookout for what might be career-ending for you, Alweendo cautioned aspiring leaders.

Agreeing with Lumumba and Alweedo, Ngombe said good leadership is built of four pillars, namely patriotism, forward-looking, trusteeship and motivation to the led.

To the contrary, those who occupy leadership positions in most cases greedy and eager to advance their own interests at the expense of the masses, he said.

The tragedy, however, is that we are having a wrong competition of things (as) those who have discovered the wealth do not want others to access it, he said.

He added that it is also disappointing that many young Namibians are yearning for an opportunity to lead but they do not have a plan in place.

Even the youth who are saying the old people should go, our intention is they must go so that we can get a chance to get money and buy cars. If this is our desire, then why should fight [for change] when we are all in the same WhatsApp group, he said.

Source: Namibia Press Agency