Abstract African political leadership hasrevealed their potential skills for leading followers in the ways that shows a highlevel of leadership acceptability on the first term of their leadership. Theincidence that occurs when political leaders take position in African Continenthas been characterised of various reasons, most of them is the failure tofulfil the promise made to the followers, Selection criteria for the leadersmade by the political parties, understanding of the concept of good governance and accountability to theAfrican Political Leadership as most of them has emerged from the militaryregime. This has resulted in many African political leaders to be reported asdictators hence fail to adhere to the social dynamic theories of leadershipwhich believe that the social dynamics of the interaction between leaders andfollowers have the importance in the practices of leadership. The developmentand practicability of the theories of transformational leadership in AfricanPolitical leadership are inevitable as among other reasons, it is a major causepolitical leader to fail during their first term. African political leadershipshould understand the theories of the new paradigm of leadership and put it ina practical which emphases on traits and behaviour of leaders, the situationalcontext of leadership, relationships between and among leaders and followersbefore leading and after gaining power and should be maintained.
Introduction of African Politicalleadership;Africanpolitical leadership has long historical evidence, this can be traced back whendescribing in various types of leaders whom helped the continent in achievingthe desired goals at a certain point in time specifically during fighting forindependence. African political leadership can be classified and described accordingto their contextual, the duration they served as political leaders, educationlevel of the political leader and political obligation to their followers. Accordingto Barry, B. (2009). Revealed that, those whom were the first African leaderwere guided with the focus of nationalism in order to free themselves from thecolonial leadership and build the state and formulation of Free State which isgoverned by the citizen. It have been revealed that the so called left-wing ideology was used toovercome the westerners, this is evidently when developing countries adoptingthe Marxist-Leninist to the almost all political parties which lead Africacountries during the process of attain independence such as : The AfricanIndependence Party in Senegal, the African Democratic Rally, the Action Groupof Chief Obafemi Awolowo in Nigeria, the Convention People’s Party of KwameNkrumah in Ghana, the Mau Mau of Jomo Kenyatta in Kenya. The Marxist facedchallenges with France colonial domination but at least indicated the path forthe rest of African countries to attain the independence through politicalleadership of the notable leaders (ibid)In1963 formed a notable unit in Addis Ababa of African states known asOrganization of African Unity currently African Union which was responsible tooversee the continent in all aspect. Also despite the hardship to manage theirown countries they come up with communities responsible to discuss the regionalissues which still existing such communities like The East African Community,(2) Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
(Barry, B. 2009) Masciuli,(2009) argued that leadership is an essential characteristics of all governmentand governance that’s why poor or weak leadership contribute to the failure ofthe government and strong ones leads to successful government. Politicalleadership is a set of activities that occur in group or organization whichinvolving a leader and followers who agreed or willingly joined together for acommon purpose (Sadler,2003). African Political leaders contributed to thesuccessfully their leadership hence all African continental attainedindependence others through the assistance from the fellow African but alsosome of them have proved their weakness which resulted to a lot of chaos withintheir countries. Nahavandi,(2014)shows the features which should be observed by political leadership which areas follows; there should be an existence of group this mean that there is noleader without followers, there should be an influence by the leaders to guidea group of people toward accomplishment of agreed goals and lastly theassumption of division of function within the group which bring hierarchy systemduring leadership process.
Africanpolitical leadership have been described by Gichuki (2014) when he argues onpolitical leadership models persist and relevant in African continent whichare; (1) Transformation Leadership, (2) Participative Leadership, (3) ServantLeadership and (4) Authoritarian Leadership.Itis true that African political leadership has shown to be consistently verygood and acceptable by the general population when they assume leadership forthe first time, but they tend to fall out of grace in later years of theirleadership. This is evidently indicated when African political leader tries toaddress the various challenges which exist within their counties such ascultural challenges, diversitychallenges, technological challenges and Youth Vs. the old leadershipchallenges. The following are the argument on how those challenges facilitatedthe phenomena of African Political Leadership which are portrayed in Africancontinent; A; CULTURAL CHALLENGES PoliticalLeadership takes into consideration cultural aspect when leading followersduring and before they take position. According to Roberts, (1970).
He definesculture as the shared values and norms that bind members of a society ororganization together as a homogenous entity. That is, people living within aparticular culture have their conduct regulated through a collection ofconsensual aspirations (i.e. central values) and universal orientations (i.e.patterns of behaviour).
Social structures that develop through the processes ofregulated behaviour are perceived to be orderly, patterned and enduring. Cultureaspect have become the among the mostcontributing factor for the political leader to be acceptable during the firstterm of leading their followers but also the vice versa is true in the lateryears. The following are the arguments from different scholars on how thisphenomena affecting African political leadership.Weber’s(1947) theory of social and economic organization is an analysis of culturechange, culture generality and culture differences .His early studies of theancient near eastern societies from which modern western cultures drew mostheavily, and his general historical approach to analysis, provided a culturechange perspective and organizational structures. He introduce three types of authority whichare (1) Traditional Authority (which emphases on past customs and personalloyalty); (2) Charismatic Authority (emphases on personal trust in characterand skills) and (3) Rational Authority (emphases on rational application ofrules or laws).
This authority facilitated African Political leadership asmost leaders were elite hence cultural affected their followers on the decisionthey made.Kuada (1994) supportedthat cultures of some societies recommend autocratic leadership behaviourswhile others demand that their leaders must show participatory leadership behaviours.Therefore autocratic leaders may, however demonstrate kind natures towardssubordinates that are very close to them.It’sargued that shared values and norms are the key drivers for cultural practicesand is highly used by political leader when struggling for the position to leadfollowers. The shared value of a certain community will facilitate thepolitical leader to adopt it because the primary goal of leader is to gainpopularity or majority rule. Therefore, it is due to the influence of thefollowers that dictate the trait of political leaders. Thechallenge of shared values and norms of the society occurs when the politicalleadership fails to keep the promises of followers as described above becausethe nature of relationship between them is the key reasons for them to remainin power for a long time. This relationship is built under mutual psychologicalcontract of the shared values and norms which should be adhered to bothfollowers and political leaders.
Therefore, the promises given to the followersshould be addressed because followers believe that they have obligation to makesure that leaders perform as promised. Most political leaders succeeded onconvincing followers through making promises that concurred with the values andnorms of the specific society when seeking power but fail to deliver thepromise hence which made follower to be irritated with the situation and facilitatethem to fail during the first time.B: DIVERSITY CHALLENGES;Diversitychallenges of political leadership has long history since before independenceof many African countries, the diversity challenges even nowadays occurs inmainly on the following key dimensions which are Ethnicity diversity, Religiousdiversity, geographical diversity, gender diversity and Language diversity. This have been revealedon the study done Ahmed M. (1998) when he argued that during the process of Africato fight against colonial regime experienced the emerging of two types ofleader which are;(1) those who are created and supported by colonial regimes;and (2) those who are from the African elites with the intention of strugglingagainst the colonial rules with and given the name of “African nationalist”.Both of these leaders proclaim that the ultimate goal is to make theircountries free from the colonial regime. This resulted to misunderstanding ofthe political leader since then and the slogan and names like snake and hyenasstarted.
Though, they have diversity on what they believe but both of them theyhave intention of gaining power and lead the followers after attainingindependence of their countries. Ethnicitywithin African political leadership is among challenges that facilitatingleader to be accepted as it is critical factors in many African countries both indemocratic and development processes. The tendency of African citizen to voteaccording to ethnic affiliation is of predominant rather than policy optionsthis can occurs when political leaders convincing the followers to vote for theleaders especially when the ethnic affiliation is widely spread in thecountries for example in Kenya ethnicity affected the electoral process of thecountry in general election as reported by the Observers of The Carter Center on their Final report in 2013. This is due to thefact that public image of leaders are closely related to their ethnicbackground rather than the soundness of the direction of the country items ofpolicy to be implemented.
Thereforethe most diversity challenges African leadership facing is how to transform theethnic diversities inherited from the colonial boundaries into national State,regionalization and the unity of the state the political leader must live whatthey preach because during their first term they tend to hind their ethnicityaffiliation but later on followers are disappointed when realizes thatpolitical leaders pretended for the sake of gaining political position. According to MohamedS. (2003) argued that religious diversity presented in Africa is traditional orindigenous beliefs, Christianity and Islam. The formulation and emerging ofpolitical parties from religious affiliation where this African leader belongare the challenge that facing African countries during they leadership. This isevidently when the religious affiliation seems to go against the state thecontrolling mechanism is difficult especially to the political leader who aresupported. C:TECHNOLOGICAL CHALLENGES;The use of technologyhas impacted positively many African political leader during the first termespecially in accruing position but also has contributed to they fail alone theway during they administration. The growth of mobile communication in Africahas facilitated excelling of political leadership in Africa as it have beenreported by the study done by Parr (2013) when argued that mobile phone as ameans of communication in Africa have raised tremendously due to its low costand capability of making communication the easiest way of interaction. Thereport also show that during the study there were about 475 million mobileconnections in sub-Saharan Africa alone, compared with just 12.
3 million fixedline connections. The applicability ofsocial networking as the means of convincing followers in the world have shownpositive impact as indicated by Friendman (2013) on his research thattechnological challenges have impacted the way traditional leadershipcommunication model was done therefore, it empowering individual and groups tocommunicate easily with anybody without any limitation than the hierarchicalmodel with a lot of bureaucracy.The role of technologyin political leadership should go beyond electoral process and politicalcompetition as the interactions of formal and informal leaders with theirfollowers. African leaders tend mostly to use technology during the first termthrough campaign but later on they impose restriction toward using socialnetwork as the followers tend to make follow-up on the promises made by thepolitical leaders during electoral process. (Gianluca Iazzolino & NicoleStremlau, 2017).
African politicalleaders must be driven by approach of transparency and openness as thechallenge of technological in political arena have been growing and thefollowers needs to be informed in every stage of the administration. Therefore a leader has tohave the ability to utilizetechnological challenges across different sector. Leaders should know theirlimits and know how to acquire missing knowledge. The technological challengeled many political leaders to be aware that leader and followers should be likea community and manager rather than an authoritarian.
(ArturKluz and Mikolaj Firlej, 2016). Leadershipstyle should be dynamic especially whendealing with technological challenge bacause as political leader they mustshift their percevied perpective on threat of new technologies and regads it asan opportunity towards fulfiment of promises they made to their followers.Therefore for the leader to sustain in are political arena for more than oneterm they should have capabilities of balancing the universal traits of a goodleader with new technological changes that may affect their leadership styles.
According to Clemsonand Evans, (2012). Indicated that the existence of technology in politicalleadership has resulted to emerge social leadership in the community whomdepends on social network and report everything they do especially positiveissues but the report also shows that it does not last longer when dealing withfollowers as they tend to criticize their thought publically. The behavior ofmany African leaders’ shows that they are less tolerance when followerscriticize them publically and this are easily shared through social network andhence resulting to fail on the first term. Leaders in African they shouldaccept others opinions regarding the way they practice their leadership stylethis will gave them credit and make their followers comfortable and hence theymay last for more than one term.D:YOUTH VS THE OLD LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES; The African Youthcharter defines youth as every person between the ages of 15 and 35 years.According to Sommers,(2008) indicated that 70% of African population are theage group of 15 and 35 therefore according to the definition of youth as perthe charter African continental is fullof youth. Challenges African leaders are facing is how to fulfill the promisesfor this young generation with more than 200 million youth.
The need for thisgeneration are full of stress because as it cater across education, employmentand participation in higher decision like political decision not as the meansbut as the product like what happened during time for liberation of the African Countries.The history of youthin political leadership took us years back during African liberation whereeffort of youth was seen across the African continent on filing ofindependence. This movement was initiated whether at high school and reachedits peak in universities with young and energetic leaders. The youth believesthat they are marginalized in political arena while the old ones use them togain political popularity among different states in Africa. The importance of the young generation wasclearly observed in the liberation of the states in a peacefully means suchcounties are Senegal, Tanganyika and Ghana. Furthermore on armed strugglesyouth were also champions such countries like Guinea Bissau, Namibia, Zimbabwe,Angola and Mozambique. CONCLUSIONLeadership is important feature ofall organs of the government and governance, African political leadershipshould adhere to the mixing approaches of leadership in order to successfulmaintain their position more than one term as per the established rules to thestates that is their constitutions and will of their followers. Politicalleadership should understand that weak leadership contribute to the failure ofthe states and vice versa is true (Masciulli, 2009).
Political leaders to excel they need to adoptthe transformational leadership theories as it represents the essential qualityfor successful management which other theories scholars has missed liketransactional theories although good leader must understand his/her followersinterest (Simi?, 1998). African Political leaders should understandthat even if they are a good leader and followers accept them with huge numbersof vote during election but the timing factors is important for them and theirpolitical parties. This is because if they ignore the timing factor to theirleadership which may result to the followers to realize that you’re not capableof managing some issues due to cultural challenges, Technological challenges,diversity challenges and youth vs the old leadership challenges they willcontinue suffer the failure for their first term. One famous public speakerssays “even if you’re a good dancer you must know when to leave the stage”The speaker was referring a dancer with African political leaders during hisemphases on those whom were accepted by their followers but failed toacknowledge the timing factor and stayed for a long time as a president totheir state tend to fail later and facing hardship during exit like Ho. RobertMugabe of Zimbabwe and the like.