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Good leadership a must for Africa - Masire
October 15, 2004
15 October, 2004

GABORONE - Former president, Sir Ketumile Masire says the newly created African Leadership Council has prepared a code of conduct for African leadership as a fundamental way of indicating how leadership should behave in order to maximize and strengthen the social contract that underlies the most fruitful relations between rulers and the ruled.

Sir Ketumile Masire, who was addressing an ESKOM Business Leadership Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Wednesday, said for Africans and Africa to take their rightful place in the global family of nations the continent must have good leadership. 'This is the least that the people of Africa can ask of their political leaders', he said.

He said there were a number of African Leaders, living and dead, who have demonstrated unquestioned qualities of excellent leadership.

These are men and women who have advanced their countries socially and economically without necessarily advancing their own political fortunes.

Those are men and women who have viewed their responsibility foremost as uplifting their entire people, not a narrow segment of their individual countries.

"Those are men and women who have created sustainable nations and enduring political legacies. 'Essentially, they have demonstrated that good leadership is not negotiable! It is in fact, a contestable legacy for all individuals leaders and the followers alike," he said.

Sir Ketumile recognised that they were stewards of a national vision and reason: "The best of them shy away from ostentation. They listen as much as they give orders. Ultimately, the best of these leaders are gentle teachers willing to instruct and guide their fellow citizens without compelling them to obey orders. They rely on persuasion rather than coercion." He said these underlying principles were essential, and added that a group of current and former African heads of state, heads of government met several times recently to see what could be done to strengthen leadership in Africa, hence they ultimately decided to create the African Leadership Council to address these issues directly, and also endeavour to work with the African Union on question of leadership and proper governance.

Sir Ketumile said the subject of leadership challenges in Africa was of particular interest and was timely in the light of current concerns about the need to institutionalise democracy and rebuild the legitimacy of the state in Africa.

He said the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) was a clear reflection of this imperative and added that undoubtedly, NEPAD faces the challenge of strengthening political leadership and creating conditions for democracy, peace and security, as well as consolidating good governance, the basis of which is good leadership.


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