Nevertheless, the above cartoon is a wonderful thought provoking piece of work. Whether the addressed people are paying attention is another topic of its own. It appears to me though; those fellas in power have found some super glue to block their ears from listening to anything meaningful.
I strongly believe that a great leader, at any level, must be a visionary. That is, such a leader must have a clear goal of where he or she wants to take the people and how and when he or she wants to get there. And visions don’t have to be complex or overly intellectual. Take Bill Gates’ vision for instance. The guys dream was to have a computer in every home and at every business office. How simpler can you go than that?
It should be scary to be in a situation where the leader does not have a vision.
In his trying to defend his political party’s promise to establish a kadhi court, a court essentially run by the Islamic laws, President Kikwete contended that the kadhi issue is not his brainchild, rather was handed over to him as part of the CCM manifesto. The president explained that the CCM manifesto is prepared long before the party’s presidential candidate is elected. I didn’t make that up; please check with IPP Media right here.
Let me break that down for you. The president is essentially saying this: he is running the country on a vision that is not personally his. He was just handed a book or something like that, which he is utilizing as a guide.
That, amigos, is ridiculous. I don’t know of any country where the president is visionless.
A vision must be a leader’s own brainchild, and not some ideas copied and handed over for a leader to baby-sit. Please don't ge me wrong, I am not saying a leader can't consult others. But a vision must come from the leader’s own personal and philosophical conviction. Leaders die or thrive with their visions. A leader’s biggest tasks are to share that vision (so that those charged with execution obtain clear understand of the vision) and to recruit quality people to carry out the vision.
Despite my disapproval of Mwalimu Nyerere on some areas, one thing I admire the most about the guy was his ability to create a vision and to stick with it (regardless of how faulty that vision was). The country’s culture, though turned to be full of corruption and ineptitude, is Nyerere’s brainchild. The CCM system itself is Nyerere’s own vision. The ability to create a vision and execute that vision has been the separating point between Nyerere and his successors. You couldn’t tell Mwinyi or Mkapa’s vision. The current president has already admitted that he is currently running a country on a guide, which he did not even take part in preparation.
For lack of personal vision, Nyerere’s successors have embraced everything without taking a closer look. That is acting like puppets. Look at the cartoon again. I believe Nyerere had a vision and plan, which led to the concentration of power on him. Nevertheless, we live in different times and change must come our way. Surprisingly, folks are still blindly following Nyerere’s vision and system. I honestly think it is dumb to do that.
Seriously, no one in the CCM camp intelligent enough to realize that concentration of power on one individual is a guaranteed ingredient for ineffectiveness? Isn’t it ridiculous that one could be charged to execute and evaluate their own performance? Honestly, give me that opportunity and I will tell you how great of a performer I am. And that has been happening in Tanzania for years.
Given that none of the presidents after Nyerere have ever had any visions of their own, ineffectiveness we see in Tanzania shouldn’t come as a surprise. Mr. Kikwete has just confessed that he is visionless. When the president is just handed over a plan to carry out, he or she becomes more of a midlevel executive officer. That is not the way it should be.
Honestly, I wonder where the president gets the inspiration to carry out a vision that is not his own.
Photo Credit: KP via Mjengwa