As the East African Community (EAC) celebrates its 10 years of existence, one must think about what hurdles have been jumped so far, and how many hurdles are yet to be encountered. Let us analyze the issue of leadership.
Management gurus say that winning or success has one major ingredient-good leadership. As the EAC grapples with how to actualize the remaining pillars of building the federation, our leaders both within public and private sectors will be required to be on top of their games.
My understanding of leadership is that it is a complex matter. One cannot have a precise formula when conjuring up a complete check list of ingredients needed to bring forth success.
Since we are all human beings, I really don’t think that we have perfect leaders. However, we can look at a leader’s inherent traits and we use these to judge whether such a leader is good or not.
A leader must be honest, forward thinking, intelligent, knowledgeable, committed, competent and above all, inspiring.
My thinking is that as the EAC gets past the 10th year of existence, it will need leaders who will be able to have a clear view of what the federation should be like.
It will be the kind of leadership that will clearly communicate their vision of the federation to the people of East Africa.
Understanding and buying into the idea of the envisaged political federation would most probably have to be communicated in the most basic way for all the people to arrive at a common understanding.
In that case delivering the federation would entail the leaders rallying all the people to believe in the basic tenets of this new political reality.
By so doing our leaders will be able to marshal the kind of following needed no matter the future circumstances. If that is the case, then how would our current crop of leaders adopt to systems and ways of reaching the masses?
Our leaders will probably have to adopt to new technology trends because this will most likely affect integration.
Management gurus often point out that leaders need to scale up their technological savvy. Various opportunities that the EAC will offer will largely be technology driven.
This consideration in itself brings to the fore issues to do with generations within the EAC population and linking this to leadership.
The EAC political leadership will in the near future need a relatively younger cadre of leaders for the purpose of establishing a connection with the major segment of the EAC population- which is mostly young.
It is widely accepted that the young segments of the population are embracers of technology and change. These young persons are more capable of understanding that integration is more advantageous than the current fragmentation of our nation-states.
The leaders of the East African federation will be expected to possess attributes that are above, and over, ordinary leadership traits
The author is a journalist with The New Times