Abstract among leaders and followers before leading and after

Abstract

African political leadership has
revealed their potential skills for leading followers in the ways that shows a high
level of leadership acceptability on the first term of their leadership. The
incidence that occurs when political leaders take position in African Continent
has been characterised of various reasons, most of them is the failure to
fulfil the promise made to the followers, Selection criteria for the leaders
made by the political parties, understanding of the concept of  good governance and accountability to the
African Political Leadership as most of them has emerged from the military
regime. This has resulted in many African political leaders to be reported as
dictators hence fail to adhere to the social dynamic theories of leadership
which believe that the social dynamics of the interaction between leaders and
followers have the importance in the practices of leadership. The development
and practicability of the theories of transformational leadership in African
Political leadership are inevitable as among other reasons, it is a major cause
political leader to fail during their first term. African political leadership
should understand the theories of the new paradigm of leadership and put it in
a practical which emphases on traits and behaviour of leaders, the situational
context of leadership, relationships between and among leaders and followers
before leading and after gaining power and should be maintained.

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Introduction of African Political
leadership;

African
political leadership has long historical evidence, this can be traced back when
describing in various types of leaders whom helped the continent in achieving
the desired goals at a certain point in time specifically during fighting for
independence. African political leadership can be classified and described according
to their contextual, the duration they served as political leaders, education
level of the political leader and political obligation to their followers.

According
to Barry, B. (2009). Revealed that, those whom were the first African leader
were guided with the focus of nationalism in order to free themselves from the
colonial leadership and build the state and formulation of Free State which is
governed by the citizen. It have been revealed that  the so called left-wing ideology was used to
overcome the westerners, this is evidently when developing countries adopting
the Marxist-Leninist to the almost all political parties which lead Africa
countries during the process of attain independence such as : The African
Independence Party in Senegal, the African Democratic Rally, the Action Group
of Chief Obafemi Awolowo in Nigeria, the Convention People’s Party of Kwame
Nkrumah in Ghana, the Mau Mau of Jomo Kenyatta in Kenya. The Marxist faced
challenges with France colonial domination but at least indicated the path for
the rest of African countries to attain the independence through political
leadership of the notable leaders (ibid)

In
1963 formed a notable unit in Addis Ababa of African states known as
Organization of African Unity currently African Union which was responsible to
oversee the continent in all aspect. Also despite the hardship to manage their
own countries they come up with communities responsible to discuss the regional
issues which still existing such communities like The East African Community,
(2) Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). (Barry, B. 2009)

 

Masciuli,
(2009) argued that leadership is an essential characteristics of all government
and governance that’s why poor or weak leadership contribute to the failure of
the government and strong ones leads to successful government. Political
leadership is a set of activities that occur in group or organization which
involving a leader and followers who agreed or willingly joined together for a
common purpose (Sadler,2003). African Political leaders contributed to the
successfully their leadership hence all African continental attained
independence others through the assistance from the fellow African but also
some of them have proved their weakness which resulted to a lot of chaos within
their countries.

 

Nahavandi,(2014)
shows the features which should be observed by political leadership which are
as follows; there should be an existence of group this mean that there is no
leader without followers, there should be an influence by the leaders to guide
a group of people toward accomplishment of agreed goals and lastly the
assumption of division of function within the group which bring hierarchy system
during leadership process.

 

African
political leadership have been described by Gichuki (2014) when he argues on
political leadership models persist and relevant in African continent which
are; (1) Transformation Leadership, (2) Participative Leadership, (3) Servant
Leadership and (4) Authoritarian Leadership.

It
is true that African political leadership has shown to be consistently very
good and acceptable by the general population when they assume leadership for
the first time, but they tend to fall out of grace in later years of their
leadership. This is evidently indicated when African political leader tries to
address the various challenges which exist within their counties such as
cultural  challenges, diversity
challenges, technological challenges and Youth Vs. the old leadership
challenges. The following are the argument on how those challenges facilitated
the phenomena of African Political Leadership which are portrayed in African
continent;

A; CULTURAL CHALLENGES

Political
Leadership takes into consideration cultural aspect when leading followers
during and before they take position. According to Roberts, (1970). He defines
culture as the shared values and norms that bind members of a society or
organization together as a homogenous entity. That is, people living within a
particular culture have their conduct regulated through a collection of
consensual aspirations (i.e. central values) and universal orientations (i.e.
patterns of behaviour). Social structures that develop through the processes of
regulated behaviour are perceived to be orderly, patterned and enduring.

 

Culture
aspect have become the among the most
contributing factor for the political leader to be acceptable during the first
term of leading their followers but also the vice versa is true in the later
years. The following are the arguments from different scholars on how this
phenomena affecting African political leadership.

Weber’s
(1947) theory of social and economic organization is an analysis of culture
change, culture generality and culture differences .His early studies of the
ancient near eastern societies from which modern western cultures drew most
heavily, and his general historical approach to analysis, provided a culture
change perspective and organizational structures.  He introduce three types of authority which
are (1) Traditional Authority (which emphases on past customs and personal
loyalty); (2) Charismatic Authority (emphases on personal trust in character
and skills) and (3) Rational Authority (emphases on rational application of
rules or laws). This authority facilitated African Political leadership as
most leaders were elite hence cultural affected their followers on the decision
they made.

Kuada (1994) supported
that cultures of some societies recommend autocratic leadership behaviours
while others demand that their leaders must show participatory leadership behaviours.
Therefore autocratic leaders may, however demonstrate kind natures towards
subordinates that are very close to them.

It’s
argued that shared values and norms are the key drivers for cultural practices
and is highly used by political leader when struggling for the position to lead
followers. The shared value of a certain community will facilitate the
political leader to adopt it because the primary goal of leader is to gain
popularity or majority rule. Therefore, it is due to the influence of the
followers that dictate the trait of political leaders.

 

The
challenge of shared values and norms of the society occurs when the political
leadership fails to keep the promises of followers as described above because
the nature of relationship between them is the key reasons for them to remain
in power for a long time. This relationship is built under mutual psychological
contract of the shared values and norms which should be adhered to both
followers and political leaders. Therefore, the promises given to the followers
should be addressed because followers believe that they have obligation to make
sure that leaders perform as promised. Most political leaders succeeded on
convincing followers through making promises that concurred with the values and
norms of the specific society when seeking power but fail to deliver the
promise hence which made follower to be irritated with the situation and facilitate
them to fail during the first time.

B: DIVERSITY CHALLENGES;

Diversity
challenges of political leadership has long history since before independence
of many African countries, the diversity challenges even nowadays occurs in
mainly on the following key dimensions which are Ethnicity diversity, Religious
diversity, geographical diversity, gender diversity  and Language diversity. This have been revealed
on the study done Ahmed M. (1998) when he argued that during the process of Africa
to fight against colonial regime experienced the emerging of two types of
leader which are;(1) those who are created and supported by colonial regimes;
and (2) those who are from the African elites with the intention of struggling
against the colonial rules with and given the name of “African nationalist”.
Both of these leaders proclaim that the ultimate goal is to make their
countries free from the colonial regime. This resulted to misunderstanding of
the political leader since then and the slogan and names like snake and hyenas
started. Though, they have diversity on what they believe but both of them they
have intention of gaining power and lead the followers after attaining
independence of their countries.

 

Ethnicity
within African political leadership is among challenges that facilitating
leader to be accepted as it is critical factors in many African countries both in
democratic and development processes. The tendency of African citizen to vote
according to ethnic affiliation is of predominant rather than policy options
this can occurs when political leaders convincing the followers to vote for the
leaders especially when the ethnic affiliation is widely spread in the
countries for example in Kenya ethnicity affected the electoral process of the
country in general election as reported by the Observers of The Carter Center on their Final report in 2013. This is due to the
fact that public image of leaders are closely related to their ethnic
background rather than the soundness of the direction of the country items of
policy to be implemented.

Therefore
the most diversity challenges African leadership facing is how to transform the
ethnic diversities inherited from the colonial boundaries into national State,
regionalization and the unity of the state the political leader must live what
they preach because during their first term they tend to hind their ethnicity
affiliation but later on followers are disappointed when realizes that
political leaders pretended for the sake of gaining political position. 

 

According to Mohamed
S. (2003) argued that religious diversity presented in Africa is traditional or
indigenous beliefs, Christianity and Islam. The formulation and emerging of
political parties from religious affiliation where this African leader belong
are the challenge that facing African countries during they leadership. This is
evidently when the religious affiliation seems to go against the state the
controlling mechanism is difficult especially to the political leader who are
supported.

C:
TECHNOLOGICAL CHALLENGES;

The use of technology
has impacted positively many African political leader during the first term
especially in accruing position but also has contributed to they fail alone the
way during they administration. The growth of mobile communication in Africa
has facilitated excelling of political leadership in Africa as it have been
reported by the study done by Parr (2013) when argued that mobile phone as a
means of communication in Africa have raised tremendously due to its low cost
and capability of making communication the easiest way of interaction. The
report also show that during the study there were about 475 million mobile
connections in sub-Saharan Africa alone, compared with just 12.3 million fixed
line connections.

 

The applicability of
social networking as the means of convincing followers in the world have shown
positive impact as indicated by Friendman (2013) on his research that
technological challenges have impacted the way traditional leadership
communication model was done therefore, it empowering individual and groups to
communicate easily with anybody without any limitation than the hierarchical
model with a lot of bureaucracy.

The role of technology
in political leadership should go beyond electoral process and political
competition as the interactions of formal and informal leaders with their
followers. African leaders tend mostly to use technology during the first term
through campaign but later on they impose restriction toward using social
network as the followers tend to make follow-up on the promises made by the
political leaders during electoral process. (Gianluca Iazzolino & Nicole
Stremlau, 2017).

 

African political
leaders must be driven by approach of transparency and openness as the
challenge of technological in political arena have been growing and the
followers needs to be informed in every stage of the  administration. Therefore a leader has to
have the ability to utilize
technological challenges across different sector. Leaders should know their
limits and know how to acquire missing knowledge. The technological challenge
led many political leaders to be aware that leader and followers should be like
a community and manager rather than an authoritarian. (Artur
Kluz and Mikolaj Firlej, 2016).

 

Leadership
style should be dynamic  especially when
dealing with technological challenge bacause as political leader they must
shift their percevied perpective on threat of new technologies and regads it as
an opportunity towards fulfiment of promises they made to their followers.
Therefore for the leader to sustain in are political arena for more than one
term they should have capabilities of balancing the universal traits of a good
leader with new technological changes that may affect their leadership styles.

 

According to Clemson
and Evans, (2012). Indicated that the existence of technology in political
leadership has resulted to emerge social leadership in the community whom
depends on social network and report everything they do especially positive
issues but the report also shows that it does not last longer when dealing with
followers as they tend to criticize their thought publically. The behavior of
many African leaders’ shows that they are less tolerance when followers
criticize them publically and this are easily shared through social network and
hence resulting to fail on the first term. Leaders in African they should
accept others opinions regarding the way they practice their leadership style
this will gave them credit and make their followers comfortable and hence they
may last for more than one term.

D:
YOUTH VS THE OLD LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES;

The African Youth
charter defines youth as every person between the ages of 15 and 35 years.
According to Sommers,(2008) indicated that 70% of African population are the
age group of 15 and 35 therefore according to the definition of youth as per
the charter African continental  is full
of youth. Challenges African leaders are facing is how to fulfill the promises
for this young generation with more than 200 million youth. The need for this
generation are full of stress because as it cater across education, employment
and participation in higher decision like political decision not as the means
but as the product like what happened during time for liberation  of the African Countries.

The history of youth
in political leadership took us years back during African liberation where
effort of youth was seen across the African continent on filing of
independence. This movement was initiated whether at high school and reached
its peak in universities with young and energetic leaders. The youth believes
that they are marginalized in political arena while the old ones use them to
gain political popularity among different states in Africa.  The importance of the young generation was
clearly observed in the liberation of the states in a peacefully means such
counties are Senegal, Tanganyika and Ghana. Furthermore on armed struggles
youth were also champions such countries like Guinea Bissau, Namibia, Zimbabwe,
Angola and Mozambique.

 

CONCLUSION

Leadership is important feature of
all organs of the government and governance, African political leadership
should adhere to the mixing approaches of leadership in order to successful
maintain their position more than one term as per the established rules to the
states that is their constitutions and will of their followers. Political
leadership should understand that weak leadership contribute to the failure of
the states and vice versa is true (Masciulli, 2009).  Political leaders to excel they need to adopt
the transformational leadership theories as it represents the essential quality
for successful management which other theories scholars has missed like
transactional theories although good leader must understand his/her followers
interest (Simi?, 1998).

 African Political leaders should understand
that even if they are a good leader and followers accept them with huge numbers
of vote during election but the timing factors is important for them and their
political parties. This is because if they ignore the timing factor to their
leadership which may result to the followers to realize that you’re not capable
of managing some issues due to cultural challenges, Technological challenges,
diversity challenges and youth vs the old leadership challenges they will
continue suffer the failure for their first term. One famous public speakers
says “even if you’re a good dancer you must know when to leave the stage”
The speaker was referring a dancer with African political leaders during his
emphases on those whom were accepted by their followers but failed to
acknowledge the timing factor and stayed for a long time as a president to
their state tend to fail later and facing hardship during exit like Ho. Robert
Mugabe of Zimbabwe and the like. 

 

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