GOVERNANCE STRATEGY FOR THE “NEXT AFRICA”
…Guides for overpowering “Simulation Managerial System” in post COVID-19 Africa.
This article is published by tcbassociates.com based on Content Marketing Partnership with the original author, Dr Chris Ohanemu.
This discussion is hardly a comment on INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS. It is rather a discussion on finding a new management system that will enable a continent — Africa — compete effectively with the rest of the world’s continents in the new race.
Whether or not we like it, this world is set to begin again. Recall that it happened in the time of Noah/ Nuh — Koran(Nuh71, vs25–26), Bible — Noah (Gen.9 vs 1–17). And Africa will be part of the whole event.
The new race will determine new status. For all I know, the simple rule is going to be that the past may no longer matter so much for individuals, groups, communities and even countries, particularly those in Africa. It will be a time to abhor lamentations about the past; and a time to forgive the sins of the past leaders. If the Africans fail to forgive them they may be increasing the population in Hell. I think I overheard a one time visitor to hell telling someone that the facilities in Hell are being overstretched. And the reasons could just be your guess and mine. Let me recall the African masquerade song interpreted as “No one should look back because our masquerade is coming behind”
I very much hope that some people would not attempt to change our calendar notifications (A.D- After the death of Christ — to A.C-After COVID-19). And if they do I will be the first to protest; my immediate family will join me, and I am certain more people will join us.
But that is just the extent we are thinking this world will attempt to undergo some changes and so there will be “NEXT AFRICA”.
It’s common human behaviour, especially in the African tradition that when wrestling is going on in an arena, a wrestler that is defeated in the first round will always make sure he is not defeated in the second.
Africans are hardworking, but each time there is failure, the ordinary people point accusing fingers to their leaders…. leaders indeed!!! I call them “MANAGERS OF THE SYSTEM AND FORTUNES OF THEIR PEOPLE” And for the purpose of future success of nations in the African continent, I classify their activities into three:
(1) Pre- governance activities:
— activities they undertake, the behaviour, the protocol for getting to the position of leadership (e.g. elections etc)
— how they manage positions gained vis- a- vis the people’s desires and welfare.
(3) Strategy in governance:
— how they manage the system and the FORTUNES such that the future is sure, or sustainability is achieved. Obviously, each time the people are disappointed in their leaders they point to any of the three as the devilish point of dislocation.
Let me note that governance in this context is simply the way a country’s affairs are organized, directed and controlled for the benefit of the entire populace. And in all cases, good governance delivers positively on the welfare of the populace, while bad governance achieves the opposite.
2. ERSTWHILE AFRICA.
Like the people of other societies, the prehistoric ancestors of Africa emerged from their caves and reacted to their environment in what the Archaeologists refer to as the Ramapithecus age etc. They continued with gradual growth. Even by 7000 BC when the ability to communicate was developed, Africa was not very much behind the others in that race.
Along the line, however, the “MANAGERS OF AFRICAN AFFAIRS” of the old succeeded reasonably:
(a) Yes, they had patches of inter-tribal wars, settled their differences and moved forward.
(b) They played politics but never bothered to give it a name, because to them, it was a good activity meant to create a decent society
( c)They practised democracy but we’re not interested in the name.
(d) There was really no name for corruption because it was infinitesimal.
(e)Their dictionary did not contain INSECURITY because they were always proactive in guarding against it and where it occurred they had immediate solution in their traditional style.
(f) The concept of SIMULATION MANAGERIAL SYSTEM did not arise because every leader was working for the common good of his subjects.
(g) Mediocrity was not an issue because they had rules for selecting people who led them..
(h) They had no need for treasury looting, because the treasury was never allowed to be “stupidly over full”.
(i) Besides, greed was not in their dictionary either. I rather saw “contentment” in their diary that I perused.
(j)Even without having a direct contact with Mahatma Ghandi, they selected and practised some of his principles:
— -They avoided wealth without work.
— -It was also not in their character to seek wealth without conscience.
— -The little knowledge they had, they were able to match with character
And what’s more, their pre-governance activities were guided by good principles and discipline.
3. THE “NEXT AFRICA”
Africa will begin again like the others. That is the ”Next Africa”. She will join the race; she will compete with others, she should therefore, work hard to remove the cloak tagged” THE THIRD WORLD”. Africa should work hard to scale up her value, using what she has to get what she wants. In the new race, Africa is expected to shift from the “begging box” to ”giving box”. In all, let Africa see it as an opportunity to struggle to leave a deep imprint upon the rest of the world in the new race.
The new race may require both “white science” and “black science” ; it may reject some of the things valued highly in the previous race and choose things that were never viewed as important. The new race will appoint its own millionaires and billionaires, and even its champions.
However, for the “Next Africa” to be realized, efforts must be made by its “managers” to do away with” SIMULATION MANAGERIAL STYLE” — leaders hiding their real feelings or intentions, while showing different ones to the subjects.
But no matter how complex it may be, the new race must be managed; the managers must learn new tricks, acquire and apply new tools, as well as craft and implement new strategies.
Image by Scott Stulberg/Corbis
Leaders of “Next Africa” must make efforts to look inwards into their culture and see what can be extracted to guide their principles. One of such tools is the proverbs.
Today, there is no African leader who is not younger than at least twenty percent of the country’s citizens. In other words, they all have people they call elders, that they can revert to if their knowledge of proverbs is inadequate for this purpose. For instance, the following proverbs (and many more) address the situations the “managers” of the “Next Africa” may face:
Walking and looking back at intervals does not portend fear but vigilance.
(b) Unwarranted utterances.
Our elders say, the words from a man’s mouth represent his heart the eyes can see.
Besides, our elders also warn that whoever talks, while walking on a path must realize that the grass has ears.
He who worships a spirit whose identity he cannot explain may not know the language to use to calm it down in the event of the spirit’s anger.
(d) Watching your former enemies/opponents.
According to our elders, tortoise does not trust lion’s offer of hand of friendship, because it offers this only when it’s stuck in the mud.
(e) Short memory/ gratitude.
A man who does not remember exactly where he began to suffer torrential rain, might not know where he was when it stopped.
(f) Maltreatment of others.
The elders warn that whoever bites the finger that fed him would one day be fed by the toes.
According to the vulture, it avoids clash with the hawk by settling for dead creatures as food, so that the hawk eats living creatures and blood.
………Obviously, the vulture lives long and I am yet to see the dead body of a vulture. Please, ask your parents if they have seen one.
( h) Deceit/ Falsehood.
He who fails to reveal his real status to his kinsmen is usually carried beyond his father’s compound.
He who remembers and cares for himself alone, may also not remember the names of people he should call when he runs into difficulty.
A goat that is always eating other goats’ shares will one day eat other goats’ poison.
5. BLENDING WITH MODERN STRATEGIES.
(a) Building the top team.
Teamwork at the top — individuals and groups working in harmony together toward a common end — gives a country enormous strength. In the new race, especially for countries that fail to observe caution, political parties might cease to be a strength that a leader needs, unless such parties in Africa stop exhibiting such well known symptoms as intrigues, politicking, and “executive” back-biting. It is recalled that these symptoms gave the military in some African countries a chance to rule them some decades before now.
In the “Next Africa”, the leaders must avoid, “stand still” administration, by learning to set direction, determining where the nation should be going with its plans , resources and desires. Every African country should have a vision statement (not paper only), allowed to flow down the regions, states and local governments as the case may be. This will engender hard work and skilful refusal to deviate on the part of the leader.
With this in place also, a prospective leader can assess himself, and the people can also assess him with a view to ascertaining if he has what it takes to lead them toward the direction set. Let me commend the one time “managers” of Indian State of ANDHRA PRADESH who had this: “ Our vision of ANDHRA PRADESH is a state where poverty is totally eradicated; where every man, woman, and child has access to not just the basic minimum needs, but to all opportunities to lead a happy and fulfilling life, a knowledge and learning society built on the values of hard work, honesty, discipline and a collective sense of purpose”
Andhra Pradesh, India. Photo: EPS
Next will be for the leaders to make efforts in developing strategies to achieve these, lay the operational plans for the relevant government machinery, restructure when necessary to ensure all efforts are geared toward the mission statement. The African leaders in the new race will realize the critical need allow political parties to perform just their basic functions, while the management of the affairs, fortune and desires of the people would be handled by those directly charged with that responsibility.
(c)Acquiring new skills.
The leaders will move their nations forward much easier if they acquire or “rent” skills in what I call ADMINISTRATIVE INTELLIGENCE — the ability of the incumbent to analyse situations, understand issues and events that are not obvious, evolve logical thinking about them, manage the power to create or modify government’s operational climate such that enables the desired level of performance that rightly achieves the set goals as contained in the mission statement of the country, state, region or local governments.
(d) Employing shadow consultants
It’s the practice in the whole of Africa that different people have varying reasons and basis on which they seek and occupy positions of leadership. However, African nations must compete with the rest of the world in the new race.
Therefore, these leaders must employ the services of SHADOW CONSULTANTS. This position is much more different from that of political adviser, personal assistant or special assistant (who are politicians). A shadow consultant is not a politician ( rather a professional of a sort), and he is employed on part-time basis and sometimes secretly so. He acts as the third eye of the leader, especially in a field where he has expertise. He can come from anywhere except a rival nation or region etc. He does what the adviser may not have time to do: has intimate contact with the environment, does critical thinking, analyses issues especially the ones that have to do with his areas of specialization, attends meetings with his boss only on invitation, submits reports fortnightly.
The use of shadow consultants in the new race will enable African leaders to have adequate time to manage their country’s fortune, difficulties, and future.
(e) Self assessment tactics.
A leader who meets situation(S) in his country and successfully applies skill in governance(G), can always record result (R) i.e Expected results. So in the new race, there will be need for African leaders to continuously assess themselves or allow others to do that as follows:
Situation(S) + Governance(G) = Results (R)
S+G=R ;Good Governance
S+G>R ;Excellent Governance
S+G<R ;Poor Governance.
6. COMPETITION AND COOPERATION.
(a) For any African country to compete effectively in the new race, it must “choose a model” from among other continents and begin to compete. The key to success in the new race is competition; yes, competition devoid of internal squabbles. Cooperation among African countries of “like minds” will make the race worthwhile.
Governments must make effectively to employ administrative smart people to facilitate achievements in the arena.
(b) “Political benchmarking”
In what I call “ POLITICAL BENCHMARKING”, the leaders of “ Next Africa” must put machinery in place to monitor what other countries are doing, particularly their best and successful practices, copy them, return to their country, modify and practise better. That will be another secret of the race. In other words, African nations must learn to move out of their cubicles, relate with those they view as winners from other continents. Recall the words of African he-goat, who insists that it is by visiting other lands that it learned how to raise the upper lips in style when desired.
7. BUREAUCRATIC CONTROL.
Many a leader in Africa have either been incarcerated, tried or jailed for offence that could be simply narrowed to lack of control.
The leadership of a country can always develop on paper an elegant government operational structure, even with the right distribution of task responsibility and decision making authority, but this can only work if the appropriate control systems are put in place.
In practice however, bureaucracy as a tool of governance, is a very complex phenomenon and has in most cases been the bane of several African nations, particularly when handled with less caution. While not suggesting that African leaders in the “Next Africa” should abandon bureaucracy, they need to ensure there is in place bureaucratic control systems at all levels of administration in their countries. Put in another way, they have to establish comprehensive system of rules and procedures designed in such a way to direct actions or behaviour of government arms, agencies, functions and individuals.
Such rules are made to standardize behaviour and with these outcomes can always be predicted and accurately so.
When bureaucratic control is applied in governance, the intention is not necessarily to select goals of governance, but to standardize the way of reaching them. With this collective behaviour in different sectors of the society, countries in the “Next Africa” will compete, win and sustain their new positions among the continents of the world.
In managing the “Next Africa”, efforts must be made to secure new position, safeguard and improve on any achievements recorded in the race. After all, no one wins a race by moving forward at one time and backward at the other.
Permit me to think aloud, thus: in its broadest terms, let the responsibility of the leaders in the “Next Africa” during the race be simply to CREATE A SUCCESSFUL NATION each!!! Several successful nations in a continent results in a successful continent.
For more information, clarifications and/or customized corporate advice, contact us on:
Chris. N. Ohanemu.Ph.D
MD/CEO. HILLSGATE CONSULTING.