Dr. Willy Mutunga calls for better leadership. Willy is a lawyer, studied in Dar es Salaam and Canada. He has taught law at the University of Nairobi and has been involved in the human rights movement in Kenya since the 1970s. Before joining the Ford Foundation as a Program officer, Human Rights and Social Justice at the Eastern Africa Office, he was the CEO of Kenya's, and indeed, East Africa's premier human rights organization, the Kenya Human Rights Commission.
My colleague and mentor, Akwasi Aidoo, introduced me to this great debate. I have not read all the material (and I cannot claim to have understood some of the arguments that are written in not so simple English. If these great ideas are to reach the ordinary people of Africa somebody will have to simplify this language!), but I believe I can comment on political leadership in Africa. The debaters I have read seem agreed that one of the root causes of the African problem (and here the consensus is unanimous as to the history, nature and causes of the problem) must be located in the continent's political leadership. As Aidoo moves the debate to strategies some of the crucial questions that will be foundational for the quest for such strategies are these: Who will lead Africa to economic, cultural, political and social independence? What is the nature of the alternative political leadership that can spearhead and lead Africa's democratization and the eradication of poverty and conflicts? What have been the good practices and values of Africa's political leadership that must be onsolidated? (We cannot simply throw out Nkrumah, Cabral, Nyerere, Nasser, Mandela, Machel, Sankara and others with the political bath water). What is the nature of the succession of political leadership in Africa and will the alternative political leadership be sustained?
As a parting shot and in wishing you all a Great New Year for Africa's democratization, here is some story to laugh about:
Some Ugandan a while ago formed a political party with one objective of getting the British back to Uganda. This party did not garner a single vote. Perplexed, the Ugandan sought to know what was wrong with his idea. He was told that the reason why he and his party did not get any votes was because the British had never left Uganda.