We hope Hakainde Hichilema will try to learn something from the observations made by Dr Katele Kalumba on his political leadership.
There are many ways to look at leadership, but there is not now and probably will never be any complete way. Leadership is very vital to the future of our nation. But in the end, putting aside all the theories and concepts, good leadership will be achieved, not by the formality of structures, political party manifestos, but by the integrity of the participant and by the willingness of the individuals to work together and be inspired by a larger vision.
And of all the properties which belong to honourable leaders, not one is so highly prized as that of character.
Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.
Outstanding leaders have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission. Immature leaders hop from one thing to another; mature leaders seek to follow through.
Leadership is the ability of a single individual through his or her actions to motivate others to higher levels of achievement, of conduct. Leadership, therefore, is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.
Hot heads and cold hearts have never rendered good leadership.
It is said that a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. And in this way inspires hope. A leader is indeed a dealer in hope.
Some people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. There is a Chinese proverb that says "A wise ruler must suppress his personal hatred".
There is nothing noble about being superior to some other man, some other woman, some other politician. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self. It is said that quality begins on the inside and then works its way out.
Reason and judgment are the qualities of a leader. People do not follow uncommitted leaders, chameleons who change their colours, their positions every now and then. Commitment can be displayed in a full range of matters to include the work to improve your abilities. Competence goes beyond words.
It is said that the true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we do not know what to do. It is also said that the whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going.
Clearly, there are no shortcuts to good leadership. There is no elevator to good top leadership. You have to take the stairs one by one.
Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy. Effective leadership is putting first things first. Keep cool and you will command everyone.
The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet. This is probably why it is said that those who stand for nothing fall for anything. Leaders must invoke an alchemy of great vision. And the best vision is insight.
To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.
Hakainde has been at the helm of UPND for almost seven years now. This is long enough a period for one to finish any PhD dissertation if one knows what one is writing about. Hakainde doesn't seem to have learnt something over this period. He has stuck to the same language, the same careless and defensive tribal talk. The only things he has been changing are political alliances and individuals and actions to defend, support or oppose. He doesn't seem to have any commitment to anything progressive. Hakainde changes his political positions like a chameleon. He is a man of many colours. People have difficulties following such a politician. Today he supports this and defends that. Tomorrow he attacks and denounces the same things he was defending and supporting yesterday. This is Hakainde the chameleon.
A Chinese proverb says "With men as with silk, it is most difficult to change colours once the dye has set". This is not a problem for Hakainde the chameleon. He has no problems changing colours. The problem he has is not to change colours, to remain in one colour.
And it is this that seems to be inhibiting Hakainde's political development. When Hakainde stepped on the political scene, many hoped that he was going to introduce a new type and style of politics in our country that was more honest, gentle and civil. For a few months he tried to be gentle and civil. But eventually, he got back to his true colours. Belittling others, calling others names, mocking and insulting others became the hallmark of his politics. Who hasn't Hakainde called names? Hakainde has never hesitated to call some of us little creatures, little worms.
Hakainde's style of politics has been that of boasting, bragging about being this and being that. But is this the type of leadership the Zambian people want?
Hakainde has never hesitated to slander, malign those he considers to be political opponents. It's no wonder some of the things he has said about others have today landed him in litigation.
Hakainde doesn't seem to understand the political context in which he is operating. But the mark of a great leader is the ability to understand the context in which one is operating and act accordingly. Arrogance has been a defining characteristic of Hakainde's political leadership. But an arrogant and complacent leader is sure to meet with defeat.
Creativity has been very low on the part of Hakainde. He repeats the same thing everywhere and as such makes very few new headlines. He is one of the most boring top politicians for a journalist to cover because wherever he goes, he repeats the same thing, the same words - even the gestures are the same.
Hakainde is a politician who is so obsessed with tribe. Every now and then he is on the defensive about not having chosen to be born a Tonga. Who has a problem with him being a Tonga? Is Hakainde telling the Zambian people he lost the last three presidential elections because of being Tonga? Who has told Hakainde that a Tonga cannot be president?
What is in issue here is not Hakainde's tribe but his own personal qualities. He has been losing elections because of being Tonga. He has been losing elections because the great majority of our people don't like his type of politics, don't trust him more than the other candidates who have defeated him. The national standard on this issue has been long set: "Our society in Zambia shall be non-tribal, non-racial, and that our society in Zambia shall only judge each and every individual according to his behaviour" (Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Chifubu rally, Ndola Jan 17, 1965).
And Dr Kalumba is right when he says that Hakainde's political debate is low and needs to be checked. Hakainde seems to be totally at sea with politics. He doesn't seem to know what to say and when to say it. He is dry. He can learn something from others if he wants to learn. But he doesn't seem to be willing and to be able to learn - he knows it all even when he knows nothing or very little. Politics is certainly not his bag.
And we conclude this comment with a quote from comrade KK: "To be a leader at any level at all and in any scheme of things, you have got to love your fellow human beings, you have got to be ready to sacrifice for their good, you have got to be able to learn to respect the feelings of your fellow men."
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