Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Of leaders and rulers

When we are born, human kinds first think about ourselves. Me. My mother, then my father. But the paramount thing is me. Selfishness is inherent in us from day one.

Then when the brood starts to grow and you find yourself with brothers and sisters. You start to be taught by your parent that there is this business of sharing. Watch all kids – they just don’t like it. They want the ‘me’ aspect.

Then you are taken to school and decent teachers drum in the sharing aspect into your little head. In our primary school report every end of the term there was this line - consideration for others.

School succeeded to remove the ‘me’ in some of us, at least to a decent extent. But not to most of us. We grew up with ‘me’ until we became adults and assumed public office. They call it public office, but to most guys it simply means the opposite. It becomes a private office.

So if it is ‘my’ office, how can I ‘eat’ it? If that hangover of selfishness stays with in you to adulthood you are going to be more susceptible to corruption.

You want all the money in the world to be yours, all the chicks or guys to be yours and all the lavish attention to be yours. You might be 50 years old but the child in you is still intact. You are a middle aged fake and a thief. You could look dapper and in smart suits, but you are still a thief.

When you are given public office it’s even worse. You start assuming airs and arrogance sets in. Because suddenly you have toughs guarding your every move, protecting your home and family. You might end up chasing away your own aunt from the village who comes to your place without an appointment. It has happened before.

Now to some of us spectators of this human farce there comes in the question of language. The media casually call these human clowns ‘leaders’.

Not me. Leader comes from the word ‘lead’. To lead you are supposed to show an example so that the decent people you are leading acknowledge and follow your example.

I was a great admirer of the late Mwalimu Nyerere. The moment you met him you realised that he was a human being. A great man, but a human being. That was leader and a half. Some people even went to ridiculous levels of aping even the way he spoke.

Mwalimu basically despised money and concentrated in the business of running the country. Sometimes making wrong decisions. He mostly admitted when he goofed and said he was only human.

But now Tanzanians are getting very short of leaders. Leaders are an endangered species! The are some guys who think leadership is about body guards and parades. I call those guys ‘rulers’ not leaders. They like to show muscle, pomp and circumstance. But they steal tax-payers money like hell! They steal from us.

How could you name a thief a leader? We cannot follow that example. Tanzanians cannot all be thieves. Some of us were decently brought up. We have a conscience. We were constantly taught that it is wrong to steal!.

Today it is chic for thieves to call themselves ‘leaders’ I cannot admire that. They can steal and rule with guns. My question always is: How many eggs do they eat at one breakfast sitting - a hundred?

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