So when you think about leadership in Africa what image comes to mind?
Greedy, self centered and power mongers living in glass houses which is very right. But then while most of our leaders are busy satisfying their malnutritioned childhoods by eating the tax payers money and making promises during campaigns which they are sure they will never fulfill, promising you heaven while they can’t even take you to hell still in their midst we have some honourable men and women who are true to their word.
- John Pombe Magufuli AKA the Bulldozer
He is the new kid on the block and he has taken the whole world by storm. He sure knows that there is nothing like first impressions, on his first week in office made true to his word by announcing free primary and secondary education from the start of January 2016 and once the economy stabilizes there will be free university education. He then decides to visit Muhimbili Hospital without notice covering almost every inch of it and visiting the not so pleasant sites after this tour he ended up firing the director and asked for the equipment which wasn’t working to be repaired within 14 days or else he would also fire the new director, surprisingly it only took them 3 days to repair these machines. A state dinner was being organized, it was supposed to cost 300 million but he ended up slashing the budget to 25 million and asking for the rest of the money to buy beds and mattresses for the hospital. He seems not to be such a big fan of parties as he also cancelled the independence day celebrations and the whole nation had to partake in a clean up exercise and he led by example by joining the other people in cleaning the streets. He laid off over 100 statehouse workers saying that it’s only his wife who would cook for him indeed he seems to be a hopeless romantic. He has banned foreign travel and only allocating first class air tickets to himself the president, his vice and the prime minister encouraging the ministers to spend more time in the rural areas serving the people who voted for them instead of wasting the taxpayers money going abroad on vacations. When it was time to open up parliament he opted to travel for over 600 Kilometers from Dar es salaam to Dodoma using a motor vehicle instead of flying and even during one of his campaigns he did press ups so as to show how physically fit he was and his enthusiasm to start working. His actions have led to the coinage of words such as Magufulify or the hash tag page #what would Magufuli do. It is now no surprise why he is called the bulldozer.
- Margaret Kenyatta.
Behind every successful man is always a beautiful hard working lady and there couldn’t be a better example like Kenya’s first lady. When most presidents assent to power their wives grab the opportunity to host tea parties for their girlfriends and go out shopping to Dubai. But then Kenya seem to be privileged, Margaret Kenyatta came up with the beyond zero campaign whose main goal is to improve maternal health.This Beyond Zero initiative targets HIV control, promotion of maternal health, newborn and child health. While most first ladies suffer from obesity she took it upon herself to participate in the 42 kilometer London Half Marathon for a worthy course despite of her age and social status. So far, 32 counties in the country have benefited from the fully kitted clinics with significant impact on maternal and child health at the grassroots level all because of her dedication to the initiative. It is this selflessness which has led her to winning accolades and also being named by the UN Kenya’s person of the year and having the admiration from mothers across the country.
- Paul Kagame
Mr Kagame has transformed Rwanda from the wreckage of genocide to unifying the country which is leading the digitization revolution in Africa and also making it a place where it only takes you 48 hours to start a company. Rwanda is ranked as the country with the 7th most efficient government in the world and has the highest representation of women in parliament in the world, 64% of the members of parliament are women. Starting initiatives like on every last Saturday of the month everyone including the president participates in the national community service day which has led to Kigali being voted the cleanest city in the world.
It is only Africans who will develop Africa the other lazy leaders should read a page or two from people embracing change for the benefit of their fellow country men and for once stop thinking about themselves.