Dar es Salaam. Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda has cited poor leadership in Africa as a major factor behind a number of problems facing the continent.Opening the 2011 United Nations and Africa Public Service Forum in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Mr Pinda said the consequences of poor leadership in the contemporary world were many.
“It is believed that excessive abject poverty in most countries
is partly a product of poor leadership,” he said.Some participants interviewed with The Citizen concurred with Mr Pinda, saying it was true that the countries prosperity was held back by their own leaders.
The deputy director of the Zimbabwe Public Services, Mr Farai Nyatsine, said there were records to show that some leaders had ruined economies of their countries because of their bad leadership.
“This, particularly, is happening due to corruption among government officials who ignore the plight of the majority of their poor people,” he said.Dr Rajat Mitra, a participant from India, said most leaders in Africa were in power for personal gains instead of providing quality leadership for the citizens who had elected them.
“Experience in Africa is the same as India whereby public officials don’t focus on developing the society but their own pockets,” he said.
Mr Pinda had quoted the Human Development Report of 2010, which showed, for instance, that 1.75 billion people in 104 countries were living in multi-dimensional poverty.Yet, the world’s multi-dimensionally poor live in South Asia, about 844 million people, and more than a quarter live in Africa, about 458 million people.
Mr Pinda also said the performance of most African countries in enforcing accountability and transparency was lacking. “Dismal performance is seen in the manner elected and appointed public officials are carrying out their entrusted duties and responsibilities,” he noted.To stimulate innovation in governance, Africa needs a strong and visionary leadership as well as a revitalised public administration system, he stressed.
Mr Pinda said given the situation in Africa, the continent requires the leadership that was capable of identifying needs and challenges, as well as the ability to lead the people in responding positively and efficaciously to those challenges. “A leadership that can react to situations with forthrightness, dedication, commitment and relevance is of utmost importance,” he said.
But, he said, many African countries still faced challenges in enhancing the quality of leadership in public administration and innovation in governance.As he declared the official opening of the forum, Mr Pinda challenged the participants to provide reliable answers to various challenges which have so far been identified.
Listing the problems, Mr Pinda said among others, the participants should find out how to alter the mind set of leaders from transactional leadership styles to enable them to embrace the virtues of the transformative leadership philosophy.
Also, the team should come up with points indicating to what extent should the country adopt and improve innovations that are alien to the country’s specific cultures as well as what should be done to inspire and motivate sustainable innovation in governance.
Addressing the forum earlier, Mr Dalmas Anyango, the Kenyan minister of state responsible for public service, said it was evident that citizens were no longer willing to put up with under development and poor conditions of living including poor services and accountable leadership.
“Ultimately the challenge in improving innovation in the public sector is a leadership issue, it requires determined to change a culture which is risk averse and complacent into one that is restless for improvement,” he said.He also said the successful leaders in innovative public administrations empower their people to question how things were done and to try new ways.
He said the most important principle for leadership was caring for people as individuals. The most effective and successful leaders demonstrate genuine concern and care for their subordinates and treat them as unique, valuable individuals.
Ms Hawa Ghasia, the minister of State in the President’s Office (Public Service Management), hoped the three-day forum would be able to explore, share knowledge and experience about the new innovations, policies and practices for rejuvenating public administration, including the delivery of public services with a citizen-centred logic.
This year, the forum focuses on the “Transformative leadership in Public Administration and Innovation in Governance: creating a better life for all.”
Source: The Citizen