An October day is coming when many of us will line up in long queues for hours to wait for a once-in-a-five-year chance to cast a vote for another phase of people taking offices. Some will vote. Some will be told they’re late like those who now express their frustration in the UK’s general elections. That’s a little price to pay for democracy; and may not carry much weight in this article!
The question is what kind of people are we going to elect on that fast-approaching October day! This question, to me, is something I care sufficiently enough to lose sleep over it. Partly because politics is a career with minimum restrictions. Anybody can get into it. One can do anything and get away with it as long as one gives it nice labels like democracy, justice, love for the country, and so forth. This also helps to explain why we have so many stupid leaders around. What these people do is just to get enough fools on their sides and they can be elected to any office. But leadership, real leadership is about sacrifice.
Looking back into the world’s recent history; one ends up with a powerful lesson that for any person to become a good leader, that person has to have influence. There is nothing more powerful in building up influence than sacrifice in leadership. The lives of people like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President Nelson Mandela, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere and the likes, all have one thing in common – sacrifice. Some of these people spent a good amount of time in jail for the mistake of caring for others. Some lived very modest lives so as to make someone else’s life more meaningful and worth living. Take a closer look into the life of any great leader; you’ll learn that sacrifice becomes a crowning attribute of that person. It follows naturally then, that sacrifice is key to good leadership.
Mother Teresa is remembered for her kindness and the amount of time she spent in helping others while she was living in great simplicity. “By her own choosing, she lived and worked in service to the poorest of the poor.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech saying that he wasn’t sure he was going to get to the “Promised Land” with fellow black Americans, but remarked that it didn’t matter. What mattered most to him was that his fellow black people were, one day, going to be free from the anguish of discrimination. President Mandela spent 27 years of his most productive years for the good of his people. When he was confronted with a choice to make between either getting out of jail and refrain from politics or continue being locked up in jail – Mandela simply chose the latter. Mwalimu Nyerere will be remembered more for his simplicity and selflessness than for anything else. I don’t see anywhere in recorded history where self-centeredness and grid are connected, even remotely, with great leaders. But people who give themselves for others also one benefit in common. They retain a powerful advantage of a comfortable, respectful and happy life after finishing their service in office. Their counterparts squander life in office and live a doomed life thereafter. They claim to live a life away from politics. That’s not true. The truth is: these people are being haunted by their misconducts and can’t be respected by the people they have betrayed.
When the world was in the threat of economic crisis, the so-called “the big 3” auto industries in US were facing a frightening future. The Chief Executives of the three largest auto manufacturing companies knowing exactly the impact the automobile industry has in the US economy requested for the government bail-out fund. They begged about USD 70 Billion from the US government. As they were answering questions from the parliamentary financial committee they were asked two strong questions: one, if, among them, anyone flew commercial. The answers were all no, implying that they all were in private jets as they landed in DC to beg for money.
They, then all answered no to another question that sought to know if any of them gave up his handsome salary for rescuing the situation. Their request was denied on the grounds that they didn’t qualify as beggars. Beggars don’t fly in private jets as they go around begging. Good leaders don’t ask money to rescue their companies while still pocketing their handsomely huge packages. These CEOs later got the money after they left and came back to Washington D.C in small Hybrid vehicles with minimum fuel consumption and having given up their annual salaries as a gesture for sacrifice.
A great lesson is available here for the people in this country that will be running for different offices in October. Leadership is sacrifice. We all heard what happened in Kenya last year when Government leaders were told to exchange their expensive luxurious SUVs for smaller cheaper vehicles.
Unfortunately, that’s not what most of the people running for office believe in this nation. Most of these people want the lavish lifestyles, the allowances, the fame, the titles, and sometimes the way out of their failures in other areas of lives. That’s why they will promise this today and deny it tomorrow.
I have seen many leaders who never achieved anything in their personal lives but present a strong argument that they can achieve anything in the public arena. That’s why they will be flying all over and drive in the most expensive SUVs, yet encourage the taxpayers to believe that this nation is so poor to even pay people salaries.
Most of our leaders will pocket twofold of a monthly minimum wage a day as allowances andstill bitterly oppose to worker’s demands for good salaries under an umbrella of poverty. If this nation is that poor, how do we afford to maintain such lavish lifestyles for our selfish leaders? How do we even pay for expensive vehicles for all these people? We have a parliament of over 300 members; a gigantic cabinet of over 50 members and PS’s; 26 regions with RCs and RAS’s; hundreds of districts; a huge number of public and government organizations whose directors and other officials suck from the same poor cow. It seems as if the only unfortunate person in this country is a taxpayer who can’t get allowances from meetings that plan how to be lavish in a poor country.
I’m made to believe that there is only one thing missing for this nation to be rich and her citizens live comfortable life; and that’s leadership with sacrifice. But those who choose to do otherwise, they should know that their days are numbered and their actions will follow them to the grave.