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Opinions of Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Columnist: Graphic.com.gh

We need good leadership for a better Africa

The African continent has been embroiled in a struggle to rise from the low level of under-development to a level where it can pride itself as being a continent rich in natural resources.

Despite the vast natural and human resources that the continent is endowed with, a host of factors have combined to deny it the possibility of harnessing its fullest potential towards growth, prosperity and power.

Over the years, many reasons have been adduced for the abysmal performance of the continent in trying to break through the ceiling of under-development.

One of the leading reasons, undoubtedly, is the effect of the Cold War on the continent.

It remains a matter of fact that the continent became the battleground for the ideological war that raged for many decades between the Western capitalist forces and the Eastern socialist front which left some scars on the continent which will linger for a long time to come.

But, in spite of this, Africa has come a long way through, sometimes, learning some useful lessons the painful way.

While a good number of countries have experienced the wind of change blown by democracy, others still remain under archaic regimes of autocracy and dictatorship.
But for a good majority of African countries, the main challenge confronting them is leadership.

For a long time, leaders of the continent have focused on their parochial interests and those of their families, friends and party cronies.

The interests of the ordinary members of the public are relegated to the background and this, in some cases, leads to a number of disturbances that do not augur well for the general cohesion of the affected countries.

But the Daily Graphic believes that a new era has dawned, in which it behoves our leaders to exhibit the highest level of selflessness and a commitment to address the various and common challenges that confront the ordinary people.

So many of our ordinary people are reeling under so much poverty, disease, ignorance and squalor.

The new Africa that we hope for can be achieved if our leaders learn to place the personal safety and security of the ordinary person above all other considerations.
They must be prepared to think outside the box and, in so doing, consult with all the stakeholders in national development without giving any consideration to their political persuasions.

Even if the outcome of such consultations means taking very tough decisions to ensure sustainable development for generations, our leaders must be prepared to bite the bullet and explain the justification to the understanding of the citizenry.
On the other hand, the citizens must be prepared to agree in principle with their leaders that however tough those measures may seem in the interim, they will inure to everybody’s benefit.

We must not be too short-sighted in seeking only the comfort of today; we should be prepared to make enough sacrifices for a better tomorrow.