As we head for the General Election scheduled for October 28, 2020, it is worth revisiting the leadership issue in Tanzania.
It is obvious that the leadership role of a nation-state has far-reaching effects on the nation. Success or failure of the nation largely depends on the type of leadership that is put in place.
Leadership roles come not from manifestations of the outer power, but from an inner determination to so lead as to be of service to the people.
Leaders should consider their position as a challenge to servanthood. A servant's role in leadership is not to direct, but to help achieve common or desired goals of a given group.
Leadership is not 'lordship,' for these two statuses are mutually incompatible in the servant/leadership mode.
A servant role in leadership manifests itself by first seeking the good of others before that of self - and not vice versa. Its manifestation springs from an inner will to be of service to the people.
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This is a type of leadership spirit or role that individuals vying for leadership positions in the country need to embrace. Political aspirants for prospective political office must see themselves as leaders driven by the desire to serve others, and not to serve themselves.
It should not be the type of leadership that seeks power, but to serve others; not power for greed, but out of love. This type of leadership role means servanthood.
Servant leadership is a rare commodity in our world today - and, especially in most African countries. This is not to say that such leadership role is not being practised in some countries.
But, whenever it is manifested by such leaders, it is because they were moved in the heart of their hearts. It is when our leaders see themselves as servants of the people they serve that there can be a solution to the overwhelming variety of problems that continue to threaten national development.
The servant role in leadership is the journey unto the nature of legitimate power and greatness. It is that of influencing the behaviour of people without violating their free moral choice.
The greatest desire today in our world in general - and in Tanzania in particular - is the desire for leaders who can wield their power in seeking to meet human needs and development needs for others.
They are leaders who can see their roles as a determination to be of service to the people. A leader must have the drive for service rather than seeking power for self.
Leaders need to identify themselves with the servanthood character. They need to identify themselves as leaders of the people who are expected to lead and set a good example in their style of life.
Leadership is character. We have been hearing and witnessing leaders who resign after a move to impeach them as result of their scandals. In society, we have examples of leaders whose services were seriously affected when their character was questioned.
What I need to clarify here is that it is not really an issue of whether they were guilty or not guilty; it is an instance where one's character is questioned.
The importance of character in the life of a leader cannot be overemphasized. As much as performance and results are important, character is the key.
In order for Tanzania to rise to higher levels, the importance of character has to be emphasized in all spheres. Character is the part of a person that makes one different from anyone else. It has to do with one's honesty, integrity, morals, values, behaviour and credibility.
Leaders always have to work at their character because it is exposed to public scrutiny more than anything else, and will be tried and tested more than other personal qualities.
Character is grounded in integrity. Leaders must be honest, credible and completely trustworthy. Success in leadership will be greatly achieved by the consistency of one's character.
There are many areas where leaders are faced with the challenge of compromising their character on a daily basis. Integrity in all things precedes all else.
Open demonstration of integrity is essential. A leader's followers must be wholeheartedly convinced of their leader's integrity. Therefore, leaders have to guard their integrity at all costs, since leadership is pegged on the followers' appreciation of the leader's character above everything else.