It is difficult to provide an exact definition of leadership because every person holds his or her own opinion. The qualities a leader possesses are not always the same. They can vary according to the problems at that time, and the people whom the leader is leading.
However, taking a decision to force non-performing leaders to resign may be critical especially when it comes to real implementation, but we cannot move forward if we gave chance to such leaders to take us for a ride.
The fact that Gicumbi District Executive Secretary, Maximillien Niyonzima and Albert Kubwimana (infrastructure) were recently forced to resign, after proving to be more of liabilities than assets, should not surprise anybody.
In fact, what surprises most of us is that they wait to be forced to resign. If you cannot deliver or serve the people, there is no point of you clinging onto power.
But what happens is that a person will continue occupying an office, despite public out cry for many days or even years. This is wrong especially in situations where a leader vowed to serve the people diligently.
In the first place, who is a good leader? This seems to be a question, most people do not care to contextualise despite its great importance. The following should be a handbook guide to every leader.
A good leader must be; some body of great integrity (Inyangamugayo), one with deep understanding to be rational on every decision he or she takes, must be consistent to gain people’s confidence and should be willing to admit mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes and if you are not making any, you are not doing your job right. If you do not accept mistakes, People will not respect you.
Above all, a leader must have the ability to listen to the people he or she leads. Good leaders must be willing to handle opinions contrary to their own and absorb as much as they can what others suggest.
This is probably what our local leaders lack; they assume that they are the ‘Omegas and Alphas’ in the districts, yet they hold public offices. You will find big numbers of people lining up, waiting for a simple service.
It is indeed heart breaking, for a peasant to stop his or her daily domestic cores, which make him or her earn a living, just because the leader (Umuyobozi) is scarce. You will of course never know what we are saying, until you need a service from one of the district officials.
We do not need to give names for they are not in our interest at least at this point, but a Mayor or Executive Secretary will take ages, before he or she stamps on an already typed paper. Forms are already there and what the officials do is only stamping them (in most cases).
When such scarce leaders are not dealt with, be sure corruption will be in the making, for a person will prefer to pay money and access the leader quickly than waiting for ages.
When a bright client (Umuturage) does a cost benefit analysis, he or she will opt for giving a bribe. Time and convenience takes much of a busy man’s priority, which is why some of them have had to part with their cash in form of bribes.
The English saying that “time is money,” does not have place in most of our local leaders minds.
Finally yet importantly, things turn worse when a leader takes a final decision. It is prudent for a leader to listen to others’ opinions, but make final decision.
This would be a great step in their unmaking, because they tend to make vacillating decisions not based on facts but sentiments and emotions.
Such decision results in total failure. Days are gone when leaders used to lie to the electorate to win their mandate and in the end mess them up.
Every leader has to be accountable and evaluated regularly- which is why we have performance contracts (Imihigo). We should again be reminded that local leaders who make vows falsely to attain certain objectives must be identified.
In circumstances where such leaders refuse to ‘voluntarily resign’, relevant officials should never hesitate to force them to do so. What people need is a set realistic and attainable objectives not mere lies, which aim at pushing a leader high in the country’s leadership echelon.
Record has it right that some leaders have been lying to be great performers, when they are not. The bad thing is that people go behind doors to complain when they are supposed to be challenging such leaders whenever they get chance. Let the people take them to task because they are their to serve them and not themselves.