Friday, October 13, 2006

DC’s Conduct: How Do They Get Here?

On September 20, 2006, I had reflected on the Prime Minister’s reaction to crappy progress reports that were prepared by some Kigoma District Commissioner and Regional Commissioner. I hailed the PM for articulating the performance expectations for these esteemed DCs and RCs. Despite those accolades, I also cautioned that we must look at how these DCs and RCs got here in the first place. That is because it is not adequate just to criticize the DCs and RCs without taking a critical look at how they got appointed in the first place.

In a nutshell, I contended in that reflective post that a DC is a representative of the President. As such, the quality of performance that the DC or the RC is displaying, is a direct reflection of what quality of leaders the President accepts. That is because the President would appoint an individual capable of carrying out the President’s mission. So if the DC is performing poorly, we can only deduce that the President accepts such a poor performance, otherwise they would not appoint these folks in the first place. That is my conviction because an effective leader is capable of identifying the right people for the right positions.

So what would one say about the Mbarali District Commissioner, Hawa Ngulume, who is reportedly slapped the chairman for small-farmers association for allegedly blocking the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Land from visiting the area. The IPP Media reported on this, so don’t throw stones at me for being mzushi.

In a Tanzanian context, this is probably not a big deal. The fact that the DC assaulted a poor farmer would probably not given a proper legal attention. I mean who cares to what happens to poor folks in Tanzania anyway? Nonetheless, in a wider perspective of things, this incident and many more is an indication of how poor the quality of our leaders is. In my opinion, by slapping the poor farmer’s chairman, the DC has violated a host of leadership rules that she was supposed to uphold.

May it is just me, but I am strongly convinced that in order for us to make serious progress, we need a serious paradigm change. We have to change the way we view our leaders and how we view our selves. Particularly, we have to establish what we expect from our leaders and steps to be taken when such expectations are not met. Ideally, leaders should be serving the people and not acting like the old colonial masters. Regardless of how the DC gets mad, there are integrity and ethical standards to uphold. There are boundaries not to be crossed.

We need leaders who are capable of empowering the regular wananchi. We need leaders who are capable of listening, discerning, and providing creative solutions in a way that is respectable both to their superiors and wananchi to whom they are called to lead. Leadership is not about embracing dictatorial tendencies. Leadership is not about feeling like one is above the rest. Leadership is not about having louder mouths on podiums.

Given the fact that the Ms. Hawa Ngulume got appointed by the President, this is my question to Mr. Jakaya: You mean to tell us the in a country of 38 million heads, you couldn’t find anyone else who knows how to act? You couldn’t find anyone else better than the likes of Ms. Hawa Ngulume?

Seriously, how do people like her get here?

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