Leadership is more than politics: Lumumba

21 Jul 2019 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 21 JUL (NAMPA) – With many African states facing a leadership crises in countries wherein corruption is rife, accountability is non-existent and unemployment levels 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 as 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, Augustinus Ngombe, 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,” said Lumumba.
He said there is a current trend among African leaders, particularly in the political arena, beginning to think they are “demigods” upon assuming office.
“They begin to imagine that they have the monopoly of knowledge and wisdom…leadership is about humility and recognising that you are 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 sometimes 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 look-out for what might be career-ending for you,” Alweendo cautioned aspiring leaders.
Agreeing with Lumumba and Alweendo, Ngombe said good leadership is built of four pillars - patriotism, forward-looking, trusteeship and (providing) motivation to the led.
But those who occupy leadership positions in most cases are greedy and eager to advance their own interests at the expense of the masses, he said.
“The tragedy is that we have a wrong competition of things (as) those who have discovered the wealth do not want others to access it,” he said.
Ngombe 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 we fight (for change) when we are all in the same WhatsApp group?” he asked.