Kujituma, ujasiri, huruma – baadhi ya sifa za uongozi alizokuwa nazo Mhe. Benjamin William Mkapa

Uhusiano wa Taasisi ya UONGOZI na Mhe. Benjamin William Mkapa unafahamika sana kwa sababu ya nafasi yake kama Mlezi wa Kongamano la Kikanda la Viongozi wa Afrika. Mhe. Mkapa, aliyekuwa Rais wa Awamu ya Tatu wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania, alikuwa mtu aliyefanya kazi kwa bidii na kujituma sana na kwa tabia yake alikuwa mkweli. Hakuwa Mlezi kwa jina tu bali alikuwa mlezi kwa vitendo. 

Tangu mwanzo, lilipoibuka wazo la kuanzisha Kongamano, alishiriki katika kuandaa matukio akianzia kwenye kuandaa mada kuu  ya kila mwaka  kwa kuzingatia masuala muhimu katika maendeleo ya Afrika; akawahimiza viongozi wenzake wastaafu kushiriki katika Kongamano hilo, akawa mwenyekiti wa kila mkutano wa Kongomano na kushiriki kikamilifu katika mijadala ya Kongamano hilo. Alijulikana kwa udadisi wake, na licha ya kuwa mstaafu, alikuwa anajituma kweli kweli. Hakika, wafanyakazi wote wa Taasisi  ya UONGOZI walijisikia kama watu waliopendelewa sana kuwa naye.  

Kiongozi hana budi kuendana na mabadiliko ya mazingira. Kwa kawaida, jambo hili linahitaji ujasiri.  Hili ni eneo ambalo Mhe. Mkapa alidhihirisha uwezo wake waziwazi kama kiongozi. Alibaki mwaminifu kwa mafundisho ya Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Rais wa kwanza wa nchi yetu. Mwalimu alikuwa hasa mlezi wake kiuongozi. Mhe. Mkapa alimuenzi na mara zote  alisema mawazo ya Mwalimu yalikuwa kielelezo kwake. Lakini hakusita kuyaacha au kuyaboresha baadhi ya mawazo ya Mwalimu kulingana na mabadiliko yanayotokea kwa kasi duniani. Kufanya hivyo kulihitaji ujasiri na utayari wa kukubali mabadiliko. 

Kuelewa hisia za wengine ni sifa nyingine ya kiongozi bora. Mhe. Mkapa kamwe hakusahau shida za watu maskini na watu walio pembezoni, aliendelea kuwatetea ili wapate haki zao na thamani yao ya utu. Vilevile, aliunga mkono ushiriki wa vijana na wanawake katika maendeleo ya Tanzania. Ushiriki wake katika usuluhishi wa migogoro ya kimataifa ulidhihirisha uwezo wake wa kujali taabu za wengine. Mhe. Mkapa alikuwa muumini mkubwa wa uongozi bora. Mfano wa hivi karibuni unaoonyesha imani yake kwa uongozi bora ni pale alipotenga nafasi maalumu katika kitabu chake cha maisha yake na kutoa taarifa na ushauri kwa vijana. Ushiriki wake katika kazi za Taasisi ulianza wakati wa muhula wake wa pili kama Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania, pale wazo la kuanzisha taasisi yenye lengo la kuendeleza uongozi lilipoibuka na yeye akaliunga mkono. Hatimaye, Rais wa Awamu ya Nne wa Tanzania, Mhe. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete akaianzisha rasmi mwaka 2010.

Tukiwa tumepata heshima ya kunufaika na msaada na ushauri kutoka kwa viongozi mbalimbali wastaafu na waliopo kutoka Tanzania na sehemu mbalimbali duniani, Mhe. Mkapa alionyesha kuzipenda sana shughuli zetu tangu mwanzo na kila wakati alikuwa tayari kututia moyo na kutupa mawazo yake. Kwa sababu hiyo, sisi tunamchukulia Mhe. Mkapa kama ‘babu’ wa Taasisi yetu.

Mwaka 2019, Taasisi ilishiriki kuchapisha kitabu cha maisha yake kiitwacho: Maisha Yangu, Dhamira Yangu. Rais wa Tanzania Akumbuka (My Life, My Purpose. A Tanzanian President Remembers). Anamalizia kitabu chake kwa maneno yafuatayo:

‘Namwachia Mungu na ninyi mnihukumu kuhusu mchango nilioutoa kwa dunia hii.’

Bodi ya wakurugenzi, menejimenti na wafanyakazi wa Taasisi yetu wanashudia ukweli usiopingika kwamba Mhe. Mkapa aligusa maisha ya watu wengi. Matendo yake mema na mfanikio yake kwa Tanzania na Afrika, pamoja na mchango wake katika kuimarisha viongozi vitaendelea kuishi nasi kupitia wale ambao wameishi kwa kumtazama, na wale aliowashauri na kuwasaidia. 

Commitment, courage, empathy – some leadership qualities demonstrated by H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa

UONGOZI Institute’s association with H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa is best known because of his role as the Patron of our African Leadership Forum. H.E. Mkapa, who was the third President of the United Republic of Tanzania, was a man who worked hard and demonstrated commitment, and, true to his character, he was not a Patron in name only.

Right from the concept of this unique Forum he was involved in shaping the event, from determining each year’s theme based on an issue of Africa’s development, encouraging participation by fellow past-presidents, chairing each Forum, and taking an active part in the discussions during the Forums. He was well known for his inquiring mind and, despite being ‘retired’, he demonstrated commitment in every interaction staff members of the Institute were privileged to have with him.

A leader must be willing to adapt to changing environments and this often requires courage. This is one area H.E. Mkapa clearly demonstrated his ability as a leader. He remained loyal to the teaching of Julius Kambarage Nyerere, our country’s first president. Mwalimu was his mentor, H.E. Mkapa cherished him and was continually influenced by his thoughts. However, he did not hold back from stepping away from, or adapting, some of Mwalimu’s tenets when he saw that they could not be applied in the fast-changing world. This took courage and open mindedness.

Empathy is another quality of a good leader. H.E. Mkapa never forgot the struggles of the poor and marginalised, continually advocating for their rights and seeking to encourage their dignity. He also supported the involvement of youth and women in Tanzania’s development. His valued involvement in international peace mediation showed his empathy for the suffering of people. H.E. Mkapa was a strong advocate for good leadership. A recent example of his belief in the importance of good leadership is that he included information and advice helpful to young and aspiring leaders in his recently published memoirs. His involvement with the Institute began during his second term as President of the United Republic of Tanzania, when the seed of the idea arose to form an organisation which advanced leadership and he endorsed this concept. Tanzania’s fourth President, H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete then brought the Institute to existence in 2010.

While we have been honoured to receive the support and guidance from several former and current presidents from Tanzania and around the world, H.E. Mkapa, showed a keen interest in our activities right from the beginning and was always available to offer encouragement and ideas. Because of this we regard H.E. Mkapa as the ‘grandfather’ of the Institute.

During 2019, the Institute co-published his memoirs: ‘My Life, My Purpose. A Tanzanian President Remembers.’ He ends his book with:

‘I will leave it to my God and you to decide what difference I have made in this world.’

The board of directors, management and staff of the Institute bear witness to the undeniable truth that H.E. Mkapa did make a difference to the lives of many. His good deeds and achievements in Tanzania and Africa, as well as his contribution to sound leadership will live on through those he has inspired, guided and helped.

Good Leadership Demands ‘Emotional Intelligence’

Do you think that your approach to tasks, as well as your interactions with others, affects your ability as a leader? ‘Emotional Intelligence’ addresses these questions and more. This learned skill enables leaders to shape the best performance from themselves and encourage their staff to do likewise. It helps a leader to augment strengths and mitigate potential problems in peers and subordinates.

‘Emotional Intelligence’ is a vital leadership competency,’ says Mr Kadari Singo, Acting CEO of UONGOZI Institute ‘any successful leader must be self-aware and empathetic to others.’ He adds, ‘It is naive to think that the workplace is an environment free of emotions. We are not robots. Any person, however professional they regard themselves, has aspects of their personality which can help or hinder their performance. Thus, this competency helps a leader to manage their own emotions and recognise emotions of team members, thereby managing workplace relationships. Healthy workplace relationships are the foundation of sound performance.

Author and consultant Victor Cheng describes IQ (intelligence quotient) as ‘… the intellectual ability to manage ideas, knowledge and thoughts’, and ‘Emotional Intelligence as ‘…the ability to manage relationships with other people’. He notes that ‘The more senior your position, the less you’re evaluated on what you produce, and the more you’re evaluated on what everyone around you produces’. Thus, a leader’s ability to work with peers and colleagues is a crucial factor in overall performance, as well as advancing your career.

A successful leader desires to have people with differing approaches in thought and action, for this ensures that creativity and innovation are coupled with careful planning and practical implementation. So, a leader should seek to work with a variety of people who use different emotional approaches to their tasks.

UONGOZI Institute provides a three-day course on ‘Emotional Intelligence’ under its Executive Education Programme. This course follows the Genos model. Course participants learn about their own leadership style and how this can affect or complement the performance of others. They also learn how they can aid others to work together to achieve the best.

‘Emotional Intelligence’ is not limited to the workplace; it also belongs in a national context. Tanzania’s Vision 2025 is for a well-educated and learning society living in a country which has graduated from a least developed to a middle-income country with a high level of human development. This is defined as a people’s ability to decide who to be – integrity; what to be – ambition, and how to live – self-awareness. Self-awareness is a crucial component of ‘Emotional Intelligence’. ‘Research indicates that the greatest obstacle to learning and growth is not intellectual; rather, it is emotional’[i] observes Mr Singo.

1,087 leaders have already attended UONGOZI Institute’s course on ‘Emotional Intelligence’. Senior staff from the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT) attended this three-day course during June 2020. Mr Daudi Mboma, Assistant Lecturer at DIT said, ‘Going through the DiSC tool, it is clear that my leadership style of ‘Steady’ has a strong correlation with the performance of my peers and subordinates.’ He added, ‘I need to remember that the different personalities within my team can complement each other to achieve a common objective.

This course will equip leaders with a key leadership competency. Each course participant will understand better their leadership style and know-how to adapt to differing personalities. To learn more about this advantageous course please email info@uongozi.or.tz.

Reading material on ‘Emotional Intelligence’ is available from our resource centres in Dar es Salaam and Dodoma, as well as via our online library catalogue.

[i] Brownwell, J. (2006, Fall). Meeting the competency needs of global leaders: A partnership approach. Human Resources Management, 45(3), 309-336.

Why young Africans should participate in UONGOZI Institute essay contest

UONGOZI Institute recognises that knowledge and learning is necessary for the progress of youth in Africa. Therefore, we consciously provide opportunities for the “future generation” to grow and develop through various regional initiatives. In April 2019, we challenged young Africans between the ages of 18 and 25 years to write and submit essays on the following topic: 

“If you were an African leader, how would you promote sustainable use of the renewable natural resources for fostering socio-economic transformation in Africa?”

This was organised as our seventh African Youth Leadership Essay Competition: A component of our flagship forum (African Leadership Forum), chaired by H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania. 

Similar to previous contests, our aim was to provide a space for the youth of Africa and the next generation of leaders from the region to contribute to important discussions on leadership for sustainable development, and suggest solutions that would resolve the issues identified. 

“Knowledge and talent are valuable resources that African nations can possess,” says Kadari Singo, Acting CEO of UONGOZI Institute. He adds, “The progress of future generations has implications on the sustainability of natural resources. Therefore, it is necessary to harness and cultivate today’s youth by setting impactful foundations for them.”

We received over 2,000 essays from young Africans. A panel of judges rigorously evaluated these essays on the basis of originality, organisation, creativity, appropriateness to contest theme and the use of language. Finally, four winners were announced in early August. 

The overall winner was Panashe Gombiro, a 22-year-old Zimbabwean pursuing a Bachelor of Law at the University of Zimbabwe. His essay, “The Educating, Adjudicating, Communicating and Executing Ants” depicted good principles for sustainable use of natural resources, as well as his ability to see things from a different perspective and spice it up with humour. 

In an interview with UONGOZI Institute, Gombiro revealed that the missed opportunity to take part in previous competitions inspired him to enter the 2019 contest. He said, “I had learnt about the competition in 2017 but failed to participate due to some chronic procrastination issues. In 2019, when I received an email about the competition from my brother, I knew I had to participate.”

The 22-year old recalled the urge to check his email every few minutes around the time that results were set to be released. He said taking the top prize reassured him of his competence among other young and gifted Africans.  

In recognition of their achievement, Gombiro and three runners-up from Tanzania, Nigeria and Ivory Coast were invited to attend the plenary session of African Leadership Forum on August 29. The four also attended the Forum’s Gala Dinner, where they were presented with their prizes by H.E. Thabo Mbeki, former President of the Republic of South Africa. 

Apart from receiving a certificate and cash prize of $2,000, Gombiro had the opportunity to present his essay before an audience of about 100 high-level African leaders, including the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan, and former Presidents of Madagascar, Tanzania, Somalia and South Africa.

Gombiro used two words to describe his experience at the Forum, “Captivating” and “Unforgettable”. 

“The most outstanding part was the plenary session, where former African Heads of State shared their thoughts on managing natural resources above the ground. It was gratifying to note the wisdom, candour and ingenuity in their suggestions,” he added.  

The 22-year old later admitted that contemplating the importance of preserving natural resources and its connection with empowerment was something he had never done before. He said the research he conducted when preparing his essay “awakened” him to the centrality of natural resources to development.

“I believe that all young Africans should take part in the contest. The research and preparation involved in writing your essay is the most rewarding part of it. Through this, we gain knowledge, awaken to and engage with the realities of our Continent. The contest becomes a sustainable pedestal to equip youth to take the action needed,” said Gombiro. 

Gombiro’s advice to all young Africans interested in participating in the contest was: 

“Be you, it is your essay after all but never ever write without planning. Read widely, and think about your essay over time and jot down the ‘little’ ideas you may think of on the bus or whilst having a meal. Chill and rest in the ever-helpful advice to any writer: It always gets better after editing, so just write. Lastly, proofread and revise your work. You may request someone to proofread and seriously consider their suggestions.”

Gombiro aspires to pursue a master’s degree in criminology, and become an advocate in his country. He is passionate about writing good stories, ending poverty, and justice. 

Gombiro as he presents his essay during the award ceremony.