President John Pombe Magufuli Appoints new Board Chair and Vice Chair of the UONGOZI Institute’s Board of Directors

UONGOZI Institute is pleased to welcome Dr. Kristiina Kuvaja-Xanthopoulos and Prof. Idris Suleiman Kikula as new Chairperson and new Vice Chairperson, respectively, of the UONGOZI Institute’s Board of Directors. Dr. Kuvaja-Xanthopoulos and Prof. Kikula were appointed by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Dr. John Pombe Magufuli on 15th May, 2018.

Dr. Kristiina Kuvaja-Xanthopoulos

Dr. kristiina-kuvajaDr. Kuvaja-Xanthopoulos is Deputy Director General in the Department for Africa and the Middle East at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland.

Dr. Kuvaja-Xanthopoulos has over 20 years’ experience of global development policy and cooperation. She has also worked and conducted research in several countries in Europe, Africa and Asia, both in long- and short-term assignments.


Prof. Idris Suleiman Kikula

Prof. Kikula

Re-appointed last year by the President, Prof. Kikula has been a Member of the UONGOZI Institute’s Board of Directors for over seven years. He was also appointed by President Magufuli in April, 2018 to serve as a Chairman of the newly-established Mining Council of Tanzania.

Prof. Kikula has vast experience in higher education, leadership development and sustainable development. He is well-known for his role as the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Dodoma, from 2007 to early 2018.

Other Members of the UONGOZI Institute’s Board of Directors include Dr. Laurean Ndumbaro, Permanent Secretary, President’s Office, Public Service Management and Good Governance; Dr. Stergomena Tax, Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC); Prof. Penina Mlama, Professor at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM); Dr. Cristina Duarte, Former Minister of Finance, Planning and Public Administration – Cape Verde; Ms. Iina Soiri, Director of the Nordic Africa Institute – Sweden; and Mr. David Walker, Former Director of the European School of Administration – United Kingdom.

2017 Leadership Essay Competition Winner tells you how to Win: Meet Victor Azure

Mr. Victor Azure receives the UONGOZI Institute 2017 Leadership Essay Award as the overall winner from former President of Tanzania, H.E Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete during the African Leadership Forum Gala Dinner in July 2017.

The 2017 UONGOZI Institute Leadership Essay Competition received over 3,000 essays from across Africa. Contestants were asked to answer the following question on their essays:

“If you were a leader, what would you do to ensure that peace and security is achieved and sustained in Africa?”

Mr. Victor Azure, an aspiring young leader from Ghana emerged as the overall winner of the Competition.

As this year’s Leadership Essay Competition call for submissions is still open, we took the opportunity to interview Mr. Azure. In the interview, he shared his experience and tips for young Africans who are interested in participating in the competition.

Can you briefly introduce yourself?

My name is Victor Azure, a 25-year-old from Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region of Ghana. I am currently a postgraduate law student at the University of Ghana, the same university where I obtained my first degree in Political Science and Philosophy.

Before Law School, I worked as a Research Associate at the Legon Center for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) where I served as a Project Assistant in the team that drafted Ghana’s Foreign Policy blueprint for the next 40 years as part of the country’s 40-Year Development Plan.

Through LECIAD, I wrote several policy briefs, published a book review on the Legon Journal of International Affairs and Diplomacy and an article in the Ghana Social Sciences Journal.

Furthermore, during the 2016 General Election in Ghana, I was part of the National Election Monitoring Team under the National Peace Council, which facilitated and developed mechanisms for conflict prevention and management.

What inspired you to participate in the Leadership Essay Competition?

First of all, I genuinely felt I had something to contribute on the topic, it was closely linked to the field I was working in as well as my educational background.

Secondly, I think my Ghanaian upbringing also inspired me to participate. Coming from the country of Kwame Nkrumah one cannot grow up consciously and not contemplate some of the things that he stood for, a liberated and united Africa. Peace and security are few of the elements needed to support Nkurumah’s vision.

Thirdly, I believe that Africa’s development can be fully realised if African youth are inspired to find innovative, well-suited and sustainable solutions to African problems. So, I was very excited to find a platform such as UONGOZI Institute’s Leadership Essay Competition, which allowed young people like me to contribute to important discussions on building a peaceful and sustainable Africa.

Tell us about your experience in Johannesburg at the African Leadership Forum, what interested you the most?

I used to tell my friends a joke that if I wasn’t a Ghanaian, then I would have probably been a South African. I am a history enthusiast, and I have always been moved with stories of freedom fighters and/or anti-apartheid activists like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Winnie Mandela and others. Therefore, I was very pleased to be among the top five winners who were invited to attend the 2017 African Leadership Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Forum had a blend of leaders, experts and scholars from across Africa and other parts of the world, which made its discussions very interesting. It felt special to be in the same room with former Heads of State; H.E. Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa, H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, former President of Tanzania, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, H.E. Mohamed Moncef Marzouki, former President of Tunisia, H.E. Bakili Muluzi, former President of Malawi, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, former President of Somalia and H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, former President of Tanzania.

It was an eye-opening experience.

What tips can you share with young Africans who would like to participate this year?   

Connect with the topic: You need to understand that you are the narrator, if you cannot connect to the topic enough to pin down examples and provide evidence, you might end up with a weak argument.

Do your homework: Almost everything under the sun has been written about. But, ideas are revised every now and then. Thus, before writing your essay, read about the subject; it will help you develop or enhance your knowledge on the subject, and you will be able to answer essay questions in the most creative way. The key here is to find a new way of presenting the issue.

Structure is important: You will not have more than two pages to discuss a very heavy topic. Structure can help you save space and say more. Your first paragraph should set out clearly what you want to achieve with your essay and how you are going to do it. This will enable the examiners to comprehend and follow your argument. Furthermore, subsequent paragraphs must run into each other to tell a coherent story. When paragraphs are coherent you are saved from writing a long conclusion.

Avoid plagiarism: Examiners will hold you to the higher standard than an ordinary blog or other social media platforms. Do not plagiarise, and acknowledge your sources.

“Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership shows leaders can be made,” Minister Mkuchika

March 21st, 2018 marks the first-ever graduation ceremony of UONGOZI Institute’s Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership. Officiated by the Minister of State, President’s Office, Public Service and Good Governance, Hon. George Mkuchika (MP), the ceremony was attended by senior officials from various Ministries, the Tanzania Police Force, development partners and universities.

In 2017, UONGOZI Institute and Aalto University Executive Education of Finland launched a year-long executive programme, the Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership, with a total of 32 participants. At the end of the programme, 94% of the participants graduated.

In his opening remarks, the CEO of UONGOZI Institute, Prof. Joseph Semboja stated that the executive programme is designed to equip senior government officials with the necessary skills and competencies to provide sustainable solutions through effective leadership.

“The Diploma focuses on enhancing leadership competencies in three areas, making strategic choices, leading people and other resources and excelling in personal leadership qualities. It is undertaken on an annual basis with a total of 10 modules,” he elaborated.

In his address, Hon. Mkuchika noted the uniqueness and high quality standards of the programme, stating that the graduates should value the opportunity and put the diploma to good use in their work.

“As the Minister responsible for Public Service and Good Governance, I am very proud to see public officials receiving leadership training of high global standard from a local institution. I now expect you to start implementing what you have learned from the programme,” he stated.

“It is indisputable that some of you were born with leadership capacities, but experiences and research inform us that leaders can be made through the process of teaching, learning and observation. This programme stands as a proof of that,” he continued.

On his part, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Amb. Hassan Simba underscored the significance of the training for the leadership of Tanzania’s Police Force.

“Leadership within the police must be adaptable to change in order to help take the country in direction it needs to go. That is why this opportunity was provided for leaders within the police force,” he stated.

The Group Director of Aalto University Executive Education of Finland, Prof. Pekka Mattila, who also spoke at the event emphasised the long-term impact of the programme.

“I think this programme is a showcase of long-term thinking and investment,” he said, “strong leaders in the government and public sector in general is key to creating structures that enable economic growth.”

The graduation ceremony was also attended by 32 participants from the second cohort of the Post-Graduate Diploma in Leadership, which began earlier this week. The second cohort includes senior government officials from various Ministries and Public Agencies.


Thirty graduates from the Tanzania Police Force arrive at the graduation.


The Minister of State, President’s Office, Public Service and Good Governance, Hon. George Mkuchika (MP) officiating the ceremony.


The CEO of UONGOZI Institute, Prof. Joseph Semboja delivers opening remarks.


Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Amb. Hassan Simba delivers a speech on behalf of the Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Mwigulu Nchemba.


The Group Director of Aalto University Executive Education of Finland, Prof. Pekka Mattila delivers remarks.


Commissioner for Logistics and Finance at the Tanzania Police Force, Mr. Albert Nyamhanga giving a Vote of Thanks on behalf of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Simon Sirro.


From the left, UONGOZI Institute Board Member, Prof. Penina Mlama; UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in the United Republic of Tanzania (URT), Mr. Alvaro Rodriguez; Development Cooperation Coordinator at the Embassy of Finland – Dar es Salaam, William Nambiza; and the former Chief Secretary of URT, Amb. Ombeni Sefue.


Hon. Mkuchika awards a Post-Graduate Diploma certificate to one of the graduates.

Will we ever retire Africa’s flags?

By Dr. Gwamaka Kifukwe

Will we ever retire Africas flags

African Unity is and has been one of Africa’s enduring aspirations since the independence movements began. Even then, there was a tacit understanding that united, Africa stood a better chance of achieving its goals, than if Africans (and African) states could be divided. The challenge to pan-Africanism, solidarity and unity has always been that sovereignty – the right to self-rule and non-interference in ‘domestic’ matters. Pan-Africanism has been presented as necessitating sacrifice for the ‘greater good’. This is an ideology that successive generations of Africans increasingly question. What began as a political ideology has also emerged as an economic imperative as we see more and more cross-border projects (in infrastructure in particular) and the recognition that intra-African trade could be one of the keys to sustainable growth and transformation on the Continent. Despite the obvious benefits, and challenges, the idea of pan-Africanism is often thought of as out-dated, impractical, or romanticism by more recent generations, who tend to express a feeling of national unity, solidarity and pride, than regional – except in particular circumstances.

Nationalism is on the rise globally, and this carries both good and bad elements. In Africa, the issue of nationalism has always been tied with those of our borders, and how ‘artificial’ they are given ethnic and linguistic geographies across the continent. Unlike the borders of Europe (in particular) and elsewhere, Africa’ borders were established by a series of meetings often referred to as the Berlin Conference of 1884–85, where European colonial powers divided up the continent amongst different and competing powers. It should be noted, however, that one of the earliest decisions of the Organisation of African Unity (the predecessor to today’s African Union) was to maintain the colonial borders. In part, this was a recognition that there was a need for administrative units and that re-organising at such a stage would be a drain on precious resources at a time when resources were being marshalled to spread liberation across the continent. Another consideration may also have been that ultimately, these borders would fade away. One thorny issue that has plagued successive leaders of Africa, particularly those with Pan-African dreams has been how to make the youth and future generations care for and understand the importance of pan-Africanism.

The key question that is often asked is How? What can be done to instil this sense of unity, collective responsibility, and a common destiny despite the obvious diversity of our people? Sometimes, the simplest solution may, in fact, be the best. In a ‘Meet the Leader’ interview conducted by UONGOZI Institute, H.E. Nujoma – the First President of the Republic of Namibia – expresses how this has been tackled in Namibia:

“Africa must unite… Here in Namibia we are trying to make sure that our children understand. That’s why here in Namibia we have the African Union flag and we also sing the African Union Anthem at all our schools.” – H.E. Sam Nujoma

H.E. Nujoma outlined one simple, and potentially fruitful, strategy of keeping the pan-Africanist dream alive in future generations:

“The aim is to register in the minds of our children that one day our national flag will go into the museum, and the African Union flag will remain the only flag on the African Continent.” – H.E. Sam Nujoma

The approach is basic, and is indeed one that is adopted by most public schools in many of our countries in Africa – Sing the (national) anthem. Familiarity breeds understanding and appreciation. The more familiar and comfortable we are with the symbols African unity and pan-Africanism, the more comfortable we will be with the concept and its realisation. By outlining the intention of one day retiring the national flag to the museum, this clearly signals to the intrinsic link between the fate of Namibia (and Namibia) with that of Africa (and Africans).

Perhaps all African leaders should consider this simple, yet effective solution to enhancing regional integration and pan-Africanism on the continent..?

Zanzibar Permanent Secretaries and Deputy Permanent Secretaries participate in Negotiation Skills Training

The Chief Secretary of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, Dr. Abdulhamid Yahya Mzee, officiated a two-day Negotiation Skills training for Permanent Secretaries and Deputy Permanent Secretaries of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, on Monday 19th February, 2018.

Organised by UONGOZI Institute, the training aims to equip the aforementioned leaders with necessary skills and techniques to bargain and secure lucrative deals in the oil and gas industry that will reap substantial benefits in the future.

In his opening speech, Chief Secretary Dr. Mzee highlighted the significance of the training, emphasising the importance of negotiation skills for the development of the island state.

“Negotiating skills are very critical to effective leadership. Public leaders negotiate every day, good deals benefit their Governments and the general public; however, a simple mistake or misunderstanding can yield negative consequences”, he stated.

On behalf of the CEO of UONGOZI Institute, the Head of Capacity Building at UONGOZI Institute, Mr. Kadari Singo said through the training, participants’ negotiation capacities in oil and natural gas commercial contracts and investments deals will be strengthened.

“In this training, participants will be exposed to the unique challenges and characteristics of international negotiations, and learn effective negotiation tools and techniques to help them achieve best results in oil and gas deals”, he explained.

Chief Secretary
Chief Secretary of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, Dr. Abdulhamid Yahya Mzee delivers the opening speech.
Participants follow remarks
Participants of the training follow remarks of the Chief Secretary, Dr. Abdulhamid Yahya Mzee.


Chief Secretary Participates in the first session
Chief Secretary, Dr. Abdulhamid Yahya Mzee participates in the first session of the training.  


Participants during the training
Participants during the training.


A trainer from ISLP
A trainer from International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) facilitates a session.

Dear Elders, please write!

By Dr. Gwamaka Kifukwe

Dear Elders, please write

Something very sad is happening across Africa. There is a generational transition as most of the ‘Liberation Generation’ – that is, those who participated in the various independence movements and struggles of the 60s onwards – are dying. Each year another round heroes, veterans, and icons takes their final, and well-deserved rest. The saddest part is not that we are losing these historic men and women, but that they are departing us fairly quietly – even those who are honoured by state funerals, and a torrent of public obituaries and international condolence messages. Their roles, thoughts, efforts, and ultimately their legacies are absorbed into the generalised history of our respective countries.

Every culture around the world has been recorded and preserved through the rich tradition of storytelling. It is strange then, that on the continent known for storytelling, that memoirs are not very common in Africa. It is a marked difference between our society, and others around the world – In general, our Elders and Leaders are not in the habit of producing memoirs or treatises. Without these, the specific lessons, contexts and ideas of these people are under threat – and the world, but Africa in particular, are poorer for it. Before it is too late, we must request, support, and perhaps even demand the distinguished daughters and sons of Africa to record their journeys and experiences for the benefit of future generations.

Memoirs provide the flesh to the skeletons that our history books and curricula provide for us. Detailing the world beyond the general to understand why things happened, how they happened, who was involved, what were the key considerations, and what were the fears and aspirations at the time of decisions and interventions. Such recordings are vital for us, about to embark on the next way of social, political and economic transformation, to understand who we are, how we came to be, why we are where we are, and what aspirations our predecessors had for us. Learning from the past is an important way of increasing our odds for success in the future.

Memoirs are great stories as well as historical sources that enable deeper understanding of historical events, and therefore the present and future trajectories. Moreover, in this era of heightened inter-dependence and intermingling the need to understand each other continues to be more and more important. These insights help us not only understand ourselves, but also invite the rest of the world to understand us better. Understanding breeds trust – the foundation for good collaboration.

As a genre of writing, memoirs do have their challenges and criticisms– ranging from validity of the memories of authors, the temptation to take up defensive positions and promote justifications, and other forms of information bias. They are, after all, peculiar perspectives on history. Their role is to form parts of, or supplements to, the greater whole. It is also unlikely that authors are likely to receive great financial rewards for their words. The issue at stake is that this forms part of the inter-generational dialogue within and between societies.

For the case of Africa, the wisdom of our Elders – so long a core tradition that has characterised the people of this continent – is being lost, and ignored. If nothing else, this is a plea to our Elders and indeed the rest of us, to not let this happen.

Please write…!

African Leaders must champion continental initiatives if they are to succeed

By Dr. Gwamaka Kifukwe

The African Union Assembly

It is a commonly-repeated maxim, that ‘African has good plans, policies, and frameworks, but what is lacking is implementation’. Invariably, this is treated as evidence that there is a lack of ‘commitment, of ‘political will’, and of ‘leadership’. ‘Gone are the days’, the argument goes, when African leaders mobilised the continent, as a continent, towards a desirable objective – referring to the Liberation Struggles, which ended with the fall of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. But is this a fair assessment of African leadership? Is it true that African leadership and, by extension, Pan-Africanism is a thing of the past? What is, and whatever happened to the ‘economic liberation’ of the Continent? And is Africa’s leadership doing anything about it? These are all valid questions, when considering the transformation desired (and taking place) in Africa today.

These questions were among those posed to H.E. Thabo Mbeki, former President of the Republic of South Africa in a ‘Meet the Leader’ interview. His responses reflect a more nuanced view:

“Part of the problem that you are raising, quite correctly, of a perception among the Africans of a weak leadership or an absence of leadership on the continent is that I think you have very few of our political leaders on the continent who actually act visible as champions of these issues.” – H.E. Mbeki, 2016

He goes further to state:

“Many of our Heads of State, you only see them, in terms of the media, commenting on domestic issues, which they must do. It is correct, they must address their domestic issues, but very few that you then see that they are addressing continental issues…  if you look around now, it would be very difficult to be able to identify which African leaders are in fact taking up those Pan-African issues. It is not because they are not doing it, but the visibility and the communication with the population is, I think, very weak.” – H.E. Mbeki, 2016

Upon reflection, the visibility of leaders championing African causes and initiatives is certainly an issue. When one compares the fanfare surrounding the Sustainable Development Goals with the relatively humble launch of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, it becomes evident that a lot of thought has certainly gone into the preparation of both concepts (and documents), but the communication strategies are very different. The reasons behind this are uncertain, however this has been a long-term trend across Africa. What-ever happened, for example, to the Lagos Plan of Action? Is it still relevant? Have we achieved the desired outcomes? What still remains to be done? How are we going to complete the implementation of this plan? And (sadly) for many, what is the ‘Lagos Plan of Action’!?

The reality is that progress towards the lofty continental goals is slowly being made. The task of building institutions is long and arduous. During those ‘good old days’ it was simpler to rally around a common enemy (colonialism and occupation). Today, we struggle to agree on and prioritise the common interests we as a Continent should put our efforts into. The East African Community, African Peer Review Mechanism, African Court of Human and People’s Rights, are all examples of continental institutions that are slowly, but steadily, gaining traction and working towards living up to their mission statements. However, significant challenges remain – Pax Africana (the idea that peace and security of and on the continent, is maintained by the continent itself), for example, remains elusive.

The ‘little victories’ of these institutions are not well-shared beyond specialised interest groups and communities, and certainly not broadly celebrated. This is one of the classic leadership and change-management tasks, which is critical in generating and sustaining momentum in a given initiative: celebrate small victories or progress so that stakeholders get a sense of achievement and fulfilment. The lack of communication and visibility leads to the perception that nothing is being done, which then reflects on our elected representatives and civil servants negatively. As a result of our political leadership on the continent not (being perceived to be) championing these causes and broader Pan-Africanism. This has created a separation between citizens (stakeholders) and the public officials, and a general sense of apathy and confusion.

A key factor of the success of the liberation struggles was that because progress was being communicated, the people on the continent felt they were part (and even owners) of the struggle. At present, these initiatives seem far-fetched; being carried out on behalf, and in the name, of the people rather than with the people. This must change, and that starts with effective, consistent, and honest communication from and to our continent’s leadership and leaders. If indeed Africa does have all of the right frameworks, Africans need to know, so they too can contribute as they have shown willingness to do in the past.

Communication is the key.


Minister Selemani Jafo Officiates Leadership Training Programme for District Commissioners and Local Government Authorities Directors

On 29 January, 2018, Minister of State in the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, Hon. Selemani Said Jafo (MP), officiated a five-day leadership training workshop for District Commissioners (DCs) and Local Government Authorities (LGAs) Directors from six regions of Tanzania Mainland (Tanga, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Pwani, Lindi and Mtwara), in Dodoma.

In his speech, Hon. Jafo outlined the role of UONGOZI Institute in building capacity of public leaders in the country, and the different development initiatives by DCs and LGAs in their respective districts.

Hon. Jafo further underscored the need for DCs and LGAs Directors to understand their roles and responsibilities, and to work as a team to meet their targets. “As leaders, we have one key responsibility, to serve the interests of the public, and we have better chances to achieve that when working as a team rather than in silos” he stated.

“I believe though this training you will be well-equipped to lead different sectors in the Government, as you will have a better understanding of how the Government operates, protocols and etiquettes, as well as the level of confidentiality and ethics required,” Hon. Jafo added.

On his part, the CEO of UONGOZI Institute, Prof. Joseph Semboja, stated that the training aims to enhance key leadership competencies of the DCs and LGAs Directors in making strategic and sustainable decisions, leading people and managing other resources and excelling in personal leadership qualities.

“Leadership is about persuasion, and in order to be persuasive, leaders require certain qualities such as; the ability to inspire others, hard work, honesty and integrity, impartialness; etc., and these qualities will be addressed in the training”, he stated.

UONGOZI Institute in collaboration with the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government have organised a total of four leadership training workshops for DCs and LGAs Directors in Tanzania Mainland since May, 2017, with the participation of over 300 leaders.

Minister of State in the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, Hon. Selemani Said Jafo (MP), opens the leadership training workshop for DCs and LGAs Directors.


Deputy Minister, the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, Hon. Josephat Sinkamba Kandege, welcomes the Guest of Honour, Hon. Minister Selemani Said Jafo (MP).


The CEO of UONGOZI Institute, Prof. Joseph Semboja, delivers opening remarks.


The District Administrative Secretary Dodoma, Ms. Jasinta Venant Mboneko, delivers welcome remarks on behalf of Dodoma Regional Commissioner.


Deputy Permanent Secretary, the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government – Education, Mr. Tixon Tuliangine Nzunda, delivers opening remarks.


Participants during the opening ceremony.


Participants engage in group-assignment during the workshop.


Participants engage in group-assignment during the workshop.

Africa needs both “strong-men” and “strong institutions”

By Dr. Gwamaka Kifukwe

138464-Barack-Obama-Quote-Africa-doesn-t-need-strongmen-it-needs-strongOn the 11th of July, 2009, the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, on his first visit to Africa, addressed the Parliament of Ghana and boldly stated:

“Africa doesn’t need strong men, it needs strong institutions”

He was only partially correct. Africa needs both.

That African institutions are weak and need to be nurtured, is unquestionable – but who will develop and nurture them?

In a recent Meet the Leader interview with H.E. Yoweri Museveni argued that the leadership challenge in Africa differs from other parts of the world. Using a nautical metaphor, H.E. Museveni reasoned that while leaders elsewhere in the world are concerned with steering the ship through the stormy seas of change, African leaders are simultaneously building the ship. This is in part, due to African states being still relatively young – emerging only after 1957 (Ghana). It is no surprise that many African states emphasised ‘nation-building’ as the key domestic agenda following independence, in order to undo the deep damage that the colonial experience has done.

The French lawyer and philosopher, Montesqueiu (1689 – 1755), articulates the critical challenge that African states face:

“In the infancy of societies, the chiefs of state shape its institutions; later the institutions shape the chiefs of state”

In other words, Africa needs benevolent strong men in order to build the strong institutions. And by benevolent, I here refer to having the greater good of society at the fore of all of their thoughts and activities. Tragically in Africa, we are all-too-well acquainted with strong-men and -women whom are not benevolent.

Returning to President Obama, the United States of America, the ‘shiny beacon on the hill’, and bastion of the Republican values. The phrase ‘Republican values’ refers to the political ideology that advocates for a political system grounded by the rule of law, the rights of individuals, and the sovereignty of the people – as opposed to feudal monarchies and other political systems. Famously, the American revolution (1763 – 1783, with the Declaration of Independence made in 1776) was grounded on the principle of “No taxation, without representation” and the British American colonies rejecting the rule of the British Parliament without being able to send their own representatives.

However, often overlooked is the fact that the Declaration of Independence was drafted by a “Committee of Five”, consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut. It was signed by a total fifty-six representatives from each of the thirteen colonies (with a population of roughly 2.5 Million citizens). The ‘American Revolution’ split communities between Loyalists (to the Crown of England) and Patriots (Colonists seeking independence). Since independence, America has had its fair share of strongmen (benevolent and otherwise) that have shaped the development of its present-day institutions. These have evolved as circumstances have changed, but the key early figures such as Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, James Madison, Thomas Paine, etc. remain relevant and influential to present day.

Africa is still seeking such benevolent strong men and women to establish, nurture, enhance, and tinker with our institutions. After all, this is the key responsibility and ‘deliverable’ of leaders and of leadership: adjusting our institutions to enable the advancement and prosperity of their societies, in the circumstances they find themselves in.

We have our liberation heroes, our Fathers of the Nation, and a few and other pillars of moral authority and champions of the African cause – however, it is no secret that we clamour for ‘the next generation’ that will deliver ‘Africa’s second liberation’. As long as our institutions remain fragile, we will continue to be more dependent on the benevolence of strong men and women to lend their strength to establishing the permanency of institutions, than for institutions to provide checks and balances to those intent on abusing their positions and abandoning their responsibilities. It is incumbent on our leaders of today and tomorrow, to keep this in mind if our development and transformation are to be successful and sustainable. This will take time.

The African Union recognised this under its third of seven aspirations of the ‘Agenda 2063’ – An African of good governance, democracy, respect for Human Rights, justice and the rule of law. And this challenge is not unique to Africa. Indeed, the Sustainable Development Goals recognise this challenge across the world under Goal 16 – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions are all levels.

H.E. Museveni correctly summarises the leadership challenge facing Africa. The onus is on African citizens, and African political parties, to prepare and elect appropriate representatives that we believe can deliver sustainable solutions to the challenges facing the continent. These solutions in turn, will provide the foundations for the next generation of leaders to develop and guide as they encounter the emerging and future challenges of the future.