Resolving the African Leadership Challenge

Cover of Resolving the African Leadership Challenge

Insight From History

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Synopsis

Table of contents

(16 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xxi
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Part 1 Precolonial, Colonial, and Postcolonial Era in Botswana

Abstract

The precolonial Botswana ran an autocratic governance structure where the chiefs had great power and authority. Despite this, some checks and balances ensured the Chiefs exercised their sovereignty for the common good. They had direct reports appointed by the chiefs and the entire community. They had advisers and the general assembly that discussed the proposal put forward by the executive committee. One thing that allowed the Chiefs to subject themselves to the actions of their subjects despite their enormous powers was their leadership mindset. The Chiefs saw leadership as an opportunity to lift the standard of their subjects to gain continuous legitimacy to their rule. The economy of precolonial Botswana was “self-sufficient, autonomous and ecologically sound” (Monageng, 2006, p. 69). The only thing that limited production was the level of technology, and studies had argued that if the colonial head provided the technology, Botswana would have been better under colonialism. Although the economy was closed, there was evidence of some levels of international trade (Parson, 1977, 1985). Hence, the leaders in the precolonial Botswana laid a solid foundation that could have been important in the future development of Botswana.

Abstract

The colonial masters entered Botswana in 1885 to make it a protectorate governed indirectly through the existing structures set up by the chiefs. They left Botswana 90 years later. The chapter traced the genesis of the failed leadership in the colonial era in Botswana and the factors that led to this. Factors identified as responsible for the failed leadership were: lack of commonly shared values and culture that occurred because of the pivotal role of the chiefs in crafting a common identity for the people in the precolonial era, lack of collaboration, and peoples' drive that could have encouraged the private acquisition of wealth and economic development of the communities, and the misalignment between the colonial leadership styles and environmental, values and culture of the people. Thus, the leadership styles of the colonial masters marginalized and alienated the people from their work, the outcome of their work, and their interest in the common good. Hence, the failed leadership of the colonial era made Botswana worse off during the colonial era compared to the prosperity of the previous period.

Abstract

The postcolonial era in Botswana started with what the author referred to as the neocolonial interlude. During this period, elites who worked to gain independence ruled Botswana. They lacked legitimacy because of their closeness to the colonial masters and their actions to marginalize the traditional institutions. The postcolonial era started with the election of a former chief as the President. He began dismantling the colonial mentality that did not help Botswana and instead integrated the traditional institutions into the modern governance structures in postcolonial governance. He realized that leveraging on the collective contributions of the people was the best way to craft a path of success for Botswana. The chapter described the integration of the traditional and postcolonial institutions to get a system that drove economic development and the people's collective identity in the nation. Botswana achieved what other African countries with similar colonial experiences did not achieve because they valued the traditional institutions and changed them to fit the postcolonial reality.

Part 2 Precolonial, Colonial, and Postcolonial Era in Ethiopia/Tanzania

Abstract

In this chapter, we examine the role of charismatic leadership in postcolonial Tanzania. Primarily used in sociological and political analysis, the concept of charisma has been viewed as a central component in nation-building in postcolonial Africa. Based on a decolonial perspective, we discuss charismatic leadership in Tanzania, focusing on Julius Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania. Nyerere, one of Africa's most influential leaders of the mid-twentieth century, fought the colonial rule, pushed for national independence and political freedom, and offered radical solutions to colonialism. Finally, the future directions regarding leadership in postcolonial Tanzania are discussed.

Abstract

Ethiopia was under the rule of monarchies between 1811 and 1974, a reign long enough to create good value for Ethiopia. The emperors came from eight dynasties, and 86 emperors ruled Ethiopia from these dynasties. Apart from 1936 to 1941, when the Italians occupied Ethiopia, the nation was never under colonial rule. Vices such as concentration of power, inequity, favoritism, expansionist drive, and the marginalization of the population were prevalent during the reign of the emperors. Most of the emperors preferred a positive external reputation over internal respect. They maintained legitimacy despite their negative contributions because of their link to the gods, reinforced by the national religion. In the end, the emperors achieved marginalization and expansion, leading to wars, and draining the nation's natural and human resources. They did not create or leave behind any sustainable and effective legacy, and all they did ended with the termination of monarchical rule in 1974. In other words, in 1974, Ethiopia started from ground zero because what was left by the emperors had no use in the modern nation.

Abstract

Post-monarchical Ethiopia covers the period between 1974 and present-day Ethiopia. Ethiopia was ruled by the socialist government, the federalists, and the democrats. The socialists terminated the reign of the monarchs and instituted the Marxist ideology with the help of the former USSR and Cuba. They took advantage of the people's dissatisfaction with the aristocracy and the divide and rule tendencies of the monarchs. When the socialists took power, they gradually installed a system like what they had condemned. They became unpopular with the same people whose support brought them into power. Within the juntas, division arose, so killings and counter-killing gave power to some of the juntas. Ethiopia's subsequent forms of governance followed the same path as the socialist government. Hence, Ethiopia ended up with very poor WGI compared to other sub-Saharan African countries. This chapter tried to explain what happened and the lessons from this. Ethiopia was well-positioned to grow, but the monarchy started badly, and subsequent regimes followed their path.

Part 3 Precolonial, Colonial, and Postcolonial Era in Nigeria

Abstract

Evidence shows that before the arrival of the colonial masters in Nigeria, the people who inhabited the landmass referred to as Nigeria had an organized form of governance (Audu, 2014; Ibenekwe, 2014). The area had over 470 ethnic groups with three major ethnic groups: Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo. All the ethnic groups had their unique form of government. However, two dominant forms were identified: the centralized and the non-centralized government. One common form of government is the hierarchical nature and the bureaucracy involved. Even though the people did not practice democracy the way the western world would define democracy, the people developed the type of democracy that ensured the utilization and mobilization of all the human and material resources needed to achieve the ethnic group's common goal. The precolonial leaders emphasized that leadership actions and activities should be directed at achieving societal needs, growth, and development. Hence, they applied sanctions using all the instruments of governance or the divinely developed source when necessary to ensure that no leader acted contrary to the belief in the common good. Leaders could not have pursued the common interest if they had a leadership mindset emphasizing selfish motives over the common interest. Thus, it is not unreasonable to state that servant leadership principles were applied even when not mentioned in literature.

Abstract

The chapter reviewed the system of government introduced by the colonial masters into Nigeria and the legacy they left, which was, unfortunately, the basis of the postcolonial government structures. It compared these to the achievement of the system from the precolonial. A major discovery is that the British government did not consider the diverse culture, history, and background of the various ethnic groups they met before implementing a form of governance to replace the pro-colonial government structure (Siollun, 2021). The error was in amalgamating diverse ethnic groups with different government structures, cultures, and beliefs into a single nation without preparing the ethnic groups for the shock that such a move entailed. Countries such as Singapore and the United States of America have brought together people with diverse cultures, beliefs, and modes of governance. Still, the structure after the emergence of the nation was such that all the ethnic groups were considered while designing such a structure. The chapter concluded that while the British government met people with a nationalistic ideology based on common goals, they left a nation where nationalism was based on ethnicity, regionalism, and political belief, making the country divided and unable to maintain the precolonial benefits of governance. Unfortunately, the division has been taken to a dangerous level in the postcolonial era.

Abstract

Nigeria gained independence from the British in 1960, and by 1963, it became a republic. For the 61 years of independence, Nigeria has passed through civilian and military rule successions. Most of the time, self-rule had military leaders in control of governance. The British government did not prepare the country for self-rule and was in control from 1960 to 1963, with the Governor-General acting as the ultimate power in selecting who remained in control. The country left by the British was divided along the ethnic, regional, and religious lines, which made it difficult to have a nationalistic ideology governed by the common good. This faulty foundation was the primary purpose of the postcolonial era's failed statehood and fragile state. Every criterion used to gauge the performance of governance in this era indicated that the military and civilian leaders did not move the country forward. One noticed that when the British dismantled the leadership structure in the precolonial era, they broke the link between the new and the old, which would have ensured the new had the cultural and historical foundation to succeed.

Part 4 Precolonial, Colonial, and Postcolonial Era in Egypt

Abstract

The chapter added to the documented evidence that the Kings of ancient Egypt managed their people very well and achieved a lot that still exists in modern-day Egypt. For example, about 80 of the pyramids built in ancient Egypt still exist, with one of them, the Great Pyramid, being the only surviving wonder of the world. The Pyramid covers 13 acres and contains 2 million stone blocks weighing two to 30 tons (HISTORY.COM, 2021). Agriculture provided enough food for all classes of people and led to increasing wealth. The overall development led to growth from villages to towns and large towns. Though history did not contain much on why ancient Egypt achieved significant feats, the chapter tried to explore some reasons arising from the decisions made by the Kings. The structure of governance and its constant review contributed to the government's effectiveness. The leaders articulated how they managed their environment and adapted and innovated to take advantage of opportunities and minimize threats. Ancient Egypt was filled with continuous innovation and creativity to improve with time. What came out very clearly was that despite the Kings' supreme authority, they recognized where their competitive advantage was and managed to create engagement and motivation. The chapter highlighted lessons modern-day national leaders can learn to make their nations effective.

Abstract

Apart from some minor powers that occupied Egypt, the major ones that occupied Egypt and altered the course of its history include the Ottoman Empire, France, and Britain. The imperial powers entered Egypt because of different motives and drivers. However, none of the reasons was directed at understanding the history of Egypt, the achievements of their past rulers, and crafting a better path for future prosperity from this understanding. They exploited the Egyptian resources, built their home economy, and left Egypt as an exporter of semi-finished goods and an importer of finished goods. Three primary motives were outstanding, among others. The first was to obtain revenue through the imposition of a tax, the second was to protect their home economy by having a continuous supply of raw materials and exportation of finished goods, and the third was to protect the strategic position of Egypt on the trade route to India and other raw material suppliers. Their reluctance to leave the country led to branding some nationalists as unfriendly and preference for those considered moderate nationalists who would be satisfied with superficial power. In contrast, the real power resided in the colonial lords. The imperialists were forced out, leaving a divided country stripped of its past glory. The book chapter discussed the occupation of the colonial lords and what they achieved. The conclusion was that Egypt was not better through its occupation by the colonial lords. The country lost its root in the past, which could have been the foundation for future prosperity.

Abstract

The book chapter discusses the various leaders in postcolonial Egypt to understand their contributions to developing postcolonial Egypt. After the veiled independence, the first set of leaders in Egypt were surrogates of the imperial lords who had absolute power even when self-rule was granted. The true nationalists applied force to wrestle control from Britain and their surrogates. This started the institutionalization of force as a means for social change in Egypt. Almost all the rulers from 1952 to 2022 were either military or military personnel turned civilian. The ideological direction for Egypt was set after the 1952 coup that included Arabism, Africanism, and Islamism but excluded turning Egypt into an Islamic state. Some rulers attempted to circumvent this and turn Egypt into an Islamic state despite the nation's wish not to. They failed through the constant intervention of military personnel in governance. Egypt also suffered from a complete disconnect between the activities and successes of the ancient era and those of the colonial and postcolonial periods. The colonial lords truncated the progress made in the bygone era because it did not align with the motives for the occupation of Egypt. The postcolonial leaders had no link with the colonial because it was anti-Egyptian progress. Like all other African countries, all the criteria used in gauging the quality of governance and development showed that the performance of the postcolonial leaders was poor and left Egypt underdeveloped.

Abstract

The epilogue summarized the contents of the book's chapters, which showed that leadership would be effective in Africa when it is situated in African countries' context, history, and values. It showed that Africa had a life and history before the arrival of the colonial masters, that leaders crafted a path to progress and development, recognized the imperfection in the system, and created an environment that favored innovation and creativity of their people. The leaders used this to progress the governance structures and their plans toward perfection. Leaders in the precolonial era demonstrated a growth/external mindset that saw leadership as a call to service and to develop people for productivity. The colonial masters did not come for a symbiotic relationship to build their nations and Africa. They came to exploit Africa based on the motives they had. They maneuvered their way but encountered resistance. They worked to identify surrogates, equipped them, and used them to marginalize the other leaders. When they left, Africa was left underdeveloped. Some postcolonial leaders again put their nations on the development path by linking the past with the present. Others did not do this because their fixed/internal mindset emphasized personal and narrow group interests instead of the national common good. In the end, African leaders should take full responsibility for what happened to their nations and how to salvage it. Africa helped the colonial masters to underdevelop Africa, and we can also drive the development progress.

Index

Pages 165-171
Content available
Cover of Resolving the African Leadership Challenge
DOI
10.1108/9781802626773
Publication date
2023-01-26
Author
ISBN
978-1-80262-678-0
eISBN
978-1-80262-677-3