There is a massive list of others who buy support through bribery and patronage of their peoples, use of mercenary thugs masquerading as army or police and external political support, especially in regional and multilateral organisations, through threat, support or cash bricks all as they rob their people and fill their own piggy banks; my special favourites are those oil rich countries on the western side of Africa who can only be described as criminal states who have developed their own enclosed world – the “thug states”!
Then there are the Jobs (Apple), Welch (GE), Watson (IBM), Hanson (Road stone+) who grew global massifs and the Namibians, List long departed, Uncle Harold sadly just departed and Oupa, who fathered our economic giants. All succeeded through imagination, hard work, technical, commercial and financial skills and no doubt a bit of luck. Their support vote is their customers buying their product. A real form of economic democracy?
So why my rabbiting on about leadership and its forms? It was Gwen Lister’s recent column where she argued convincingly that President Pohamba’s reign (and legacy) has (will be) been a period of “brave words and little action” on matters of import like corruption, incompetence, ethical perversity and debatable foreign policy.
I found myself agreeing and realised that his only actions in the forefront of my mind were his fairly recent executive anger over helicopter’s markings and unwelcome media guests. I still easily recall a speech at Ongulumbashe when he related a helicopter trip to find crooks in the bush and realising that the real crooks were in the towns as his and our friends and neighbours!
However dealing with old colleagues and friends, now influential party members and maintaining political solidarity is a very difficult agenda. Maybe his agenda is to maintain peace while the “badness” works itself through with time and the “old” fade away leaving a peaceful but rather chaotic land to the “new”? The dirty washing will then remain hidden.
Perhaps this is an explanation, which I don’t hesitate to dislike, but once our current financial lunacy has taken its toll, a few more of ancients have passed and the current shifting world order has resettled, maybe a legacy of peaceful chaos is preferable to massive internal disturbance as heroes get hung out to dry and fuel political division?However the growing additional factor to the equation is the growing power of global interests, criminal and legal, and their powers to dictate to governments. Wal-Mart’s power through its price driven purchasing system can destroy suppliers instantly but of even more interest are commodity traders and the energy demagogues.
Take Glencore, once a metal trader now into grains and energy such that its turnover dwarfs most nations! Its power over each commodity is massive and though legal market practice it can control purchase and selling prices (its margins) and thus its powers grow. When does it stop? Is this not pure capitalism about to consume itself?
Hence the need to look at future leadership styles as our socio-political element will require increasing commercial skills to steer the nation. Pohamba’s “reign of reflection” may have given us time and opportunity to think for “more leadership and less bleedership”? Yes, Uncle Sam lead us into the “Promised Land”!