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Leaders are made, NOT born

Leaders are made, NOT born

I completely disagree with the dogma that leaders are born. Those were days when Adam was a boy and not now in the age of Facebook, Whatsapp, Democracy and Human Rights, powerful tools to make a political leader become effective and qualitative in the service of his people.

I strongly hold the opinion that like many professions such as Law, Medicine, Engineering and Architecture, where formal training is required before practicing so also should political leaders in politics be trained before taking the role of leadership in society. All those professions I have mentioned above are being deliberately guarded against untrained and unqualified fly-by-night opportunists.

Political leadership is a heavy mantle to carry and therefore should be accorded the knowledge and skills training it deserves as a career and profession in its own right, if the common good should be served.

Indeed, virtues are endowed and inherent in man, but the dynamics and intrigue of politics have a potential to erode those good qualities and turn a good leader to a monster.

Since gaining independence in 1961 from Britain, Sierra Leoneans have most times condemned their political leaders as good-for-nothing.  But ironically, they haven’t been able to proffer prescriptions on how to get good leadership. To make matters worse, many of our leaders are either appointed or elected based on their financial strength and social status, which may necessarily not be the right criteria.

On the contrary rich people who had been made leaders ended up becoming failures. Former President Donald Trump, a self- made billionaire used his financial might to catapult himself to become president of the greatest nation on earth – USA, but sadly for just one term. He was disgracefully shown the exit door with all his money. The theory held by many that the richest man of the day should be the leader has proved to be wrong and futile to say the least.

To produce good leadership in Africa and Sierra Leone in particular, there is need to radically rethink the belief that leaders are born rather than made and shaped.

Late President Siaka Stevens was criticized for not appointing intellectuals into his cabinet. The president yielded and travelled extensively across the world in search of highly educated Sierra Leoneans to join his government. Fortunately, he was able to bring a battery of PhD holders and appointed all of them full cabinet ministers, including the current Speaker of Parliament, Dr Abass Chernoh Bundu. However, the history and performance of most of those intellectuals in the government is nothing to write home about.

Training good leaders is the best way to fight corruption and not through fire-brigade methods of witch-hunting and chasing people all over the place. The lack of proper training in political leadership can give way to the rise of despots who would deviate from manifesto agenda of good governance and rule of law to extra-judicial killings and indiscriminate termination of employees.

Untrained leadership is indeed a recipe for national division characterised by regionalism, tribalism and cut-throat party politics, aimed at nailing the coffin of the opposition.

Mohamed Kakay

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