Tag: leadership

Africa twasebana!

Africa twasebana! Featured

Our President’s desire to change his official title to “President General” reminds us of the disgrace and humiliation the peoples of the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Uganda had to endure under the dictators with unbridled ego that once ruled them.
Jean-Bédel Bokassa turned the Central African Republic into an empire and gave himself the title of “His Imperial Majesty Bokassa the First, Apostle of Peace and Servant of Jesus Christ, Emperor and Marshal of Central Africa”.
Joseph-Désiré Mobutu changed his name to Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga and that of his country to Zaire.
In 1971, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda made the legislature to declare him President for Life of Malawi. And his official title became “His Excellency the Life President of the Republic of Malaŵi, Ngwazi Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda.” The title Ngwazi means “chief of chiefs” – more literally, “great lion”, or, some would say, “conqueror” – in Chicheŵa.
And Ugandan dictator Idi Amin gave himself the official title of “His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”.
We thought this was a long but permanent goodbye to this disgrace. Today we are starting to witness a rebirth of all this painful and shameful experience in Zambia.
Our President started with giving himself the honour of being called “Dr”. And now it’s “President General”! What’s next? And where will it end?
Niccolo Machiavelli wrote, “It is not titles that honour men, but men that honour titles.” He was right.
Changing our President’s title to President General won’t increase his ability to create impact.
A lousy President won’t get better just because his title has changed to “President General”.
He won’t become better by having a bigger title.
The ability to provide efficient, effective and orderly leadership is not directly correlated to a title.
However, our President wants to let a title define his identity, self-esteem, status, and more. He wants his fair share of recognition, identity and respect.
It seems he wants to turn a title into a currency.
Instead of using the title to facilitate work he wants to turn it into a bargaining chip.
But trying to use a title in this way creates toxicity rather than clarity.
This reminds us about what George Bernard Shaw once said, “Titles distinguish the mediocre, embarrass the superior, and are disgraced by the inferior.”
But people don’t follow titles of a leader, they follow performance and character.
When titles equal to power, changing them doesn’t help you at all; power will simply shift its form.
Having a bigger title doesn’t equal to better understanding.
We shouldn’t hide behind titles – the one we have or the ones we want.

Fred M’membe

Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

The Socialist Party unveils more parliamentary candidates

The Socialist Party unveils more parliamentary candidates Featured

THE Socialist Party has unveiled what it terms “organic leadership,” in form of five adopted parliamentary candidates.
The five are Pastor Fred Chanda for Kasama Central, John Mubita for Shangombo, Isimwa Mebeelo Siyanga for Mitete, Debby Mwangala Akabana for Lukulu and McLeod Lunkoto for Keembe.
The parliamentary candidates, who spoke in their native languages, declared themselves ready to serve their respective constituents, with unquestionable commitment.
The shadow lawmakers were unveiled by Socialist Party general secretary and first vice-president Dr Cosmas Musumali, at party president Dr Fred M’membe’s Garden Compound office in Lusaka on November 16, 2020.
Dr Musumali said without leadership, the issue of equity and peace could not be attained.
“But that leadership has to be different from what we have today. The leadership that the people of Zambia are yearning for is one that understands challenges,” he noted.
“It’s a leadership that speaks for the people, a leadership that lives with and for the people. As a party, we are making milestones each month in identifying that leadership. Today we have the pleasure to present to you five comrades representing five constituencies of our country.”
He told journalists that the five were identified by the masses themselves in the respective constituencies.
“The leadership of the party did sit down and has adopted these comrades. What type of leadership is this? This is organic leadership; these are leaders that live in those communities,” Dr Musumali said.
“These are part of those communities and the Socialist Party firmly believes that a leadership that is detached from the people can never provide, can never serve the interests of the masses.”
He asserted that the Socialist Party was always very proud to be associated with “comrades” who offer themselves to diligently and selflessly serve Zambians.
Dr Musumali indicated that next month, the party would most likely unveil parliamentary candidates from the Copperbelt, from North-Western and from parts of Central Province.
“In total, we are looking at about 30 candidates that will be due for adoption in December. The Socialist Party is setting the standard,” noted Dr Musumali.
“We are doing what other political parties are not able to do – to get deep down to where the people are and find the authentic leaders of the people and introduce this to the people of Zambia.”

The least inclined to lead seek leadership the most

The least inclined to lead seek leadership the most Featured

It’s very difficult to understand why a politician who has brought his nation to its knees economically, politically and socially would so strongly, or even illegally, seek to continue leading it.

How can someone who has bankrupted this country seek to continue leading it? Lead to where? To further bankruptcy, ruin?

Unfortunately, it would seem, when it comes to political leadership, it is the least inclined who seek it the most – without political power they probably feel they’re nothing.

Thus the best suited to rule are least likely to want to, and perhaps those less suited to rule will be more inclined to desire power due to their own sake, personal aggrandizement.

To understand this behavior better I turned to great philosopher Plato’s wisdom.

According to Plato only those who do not seek power are qualified to hold it. Those who seek power are not worthy of that power. These thoughts of Plato derive from The Republic in which it is argued that: True philosophers – those who are beheld the good – are the most suited to ruling well. Anyone who has seen the good – been outside the cave – would have no interest in ruling the prisoners inside the cave – who live pitiful lives.

Plato used Socrates to voice his opinion on this issue, or rather, it actually was Socrates’ opinion in The Apology. It’s in a more lucid and so perhaps easier to understand.

Socrates remarks in his speech that he was for a time compelled to enter politics to help improve the city of Athens, but realized that the vocation would corrupt him. That is, his best character traits, which he reflected were most useful to the city, would be somehow lost in the struggle for political power. Socrates says he obtained this insight through his ‘inner daimon’, and decided instead to live in austerity talking to the people of the city directly.

It’s worth noting that a theme throughout Plato’s dialogues is the stupidity of political figures. They are almost always stunted in intellect compared to Socrates, or even Sophists appearing in the dialogues, e.g. Gorgias. See how Alcibiades turns up drunkenly in the Symposium, he was a real man, a general and political powerhouse who switched sides in the Peloponnesian war. Plato is showing us that this man had a chance at improving his soul, through his dialogues with Socrates, but chose the path of unconsciousness and illusion, hence his drunken state. Socrates is the man who cannot become inebriated, an important point in contrasting him with the most important political figure of Plato’s dialogues.

There are two possibilities. The pursuit of power does something to ones soul, which is what Socrates says explicitly in The Apology and Republic. This is likely why the philosopher king is the individual who doesn’t want power, but has it thrust upon him.

Another possibility is less well equipped people are prone to power seeking. It is in essence a lower drive, which you can trace to our ape like ancestors. It represents a primitive state of consciousness, well and truly in Plato’s cave.

Plato didn’t actually say ‘Too smart to engage in politics’. He wrote that those who actually want to serve the world in the best possible way turn to other pursuits, and if I’m honest, he’s not far wrong.Plato, at least it seems to me, was on to something.

Fred M’membe

Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali