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Political Leadership in Africa


Over the recent years, leadership definition has changed a lot due to the different views and actions observed under the name of leadership regarding diverse sectors and segments. Leadership may vary across different fields depending on the situation and the subject to be led; this indicates that there are different types of leadership among individuals in all over the world.  It may be referred to as the ability of an individual or group to influence and motivate other people towards the being and effectiveness of a movement in which they too are a part of. Political leadership is among one of the various types of leaderships and deals with the representation of individuals opinions and claims on the main body that governs and controls a particular country. Political administration and leadership are usually based upon a country’s or region history since most of the features and organization of the same depend on the background and past establishment. Good leadership leads to the development of a country and region and is thus one of the major requirements a country must have for its progress and development.

Political leadership in Africa after the independence has a lot in common within various countries comprising of the whole continent. Major changes and reviews have been made in the region regarding the leadership strategy the main factors including incorporating women into leadership, a situation that never existed in Africa, in the early past. The purpose of this paper is to review the leadership structure in African countries and the related changes and reviews concerning the same in the region. The paper is majorly based on the interviews to some of the major leaders in the countries, in the attempt of analyzing and explaining the political leadership in Africa.

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Political Leadership Structure

According to political leadership in most African countries face the lack of patriotism nature and the related feelings which have resulted to the evolvement of patrimonial culture in the region and the use of the powers of the state to incorporate and consolidate the political powers and that of the economy as well. The current situation in African politics thus has a new development and definition as it is based and construed as typically more legal contest mostly for the domination of the economic and political powers among the politicians and the available elites in the region. This is among the major reasons, as explained by the former Kenya Prime Minister, Hon. Raila Odinga that leads to the instability of destructions and killings among individuals supporting different parties during the national elections experienced after the national elections in the year 2007.

Raila explains that today, Africa is in deep crisis in its leadership, as compared to most of other developing regions like Asia and the Latin America. This is to an extent that there is a risk of Africa being marginalized in the world due to the political system that operates and leads the countries in Africa. Among the very critical factors that are reported to have contributed to such failures in the region are the perpetuation and the effect of inherited structures and organizations from the colonial rulings which were later adopted by most of the countries in Africa, after the exit of the Colonials. This is in addition to the continuation of the fragmentation and control of external processes of development leading to the various poor social infrastructure and economic situations experienced by most of the countries despite the rich resources they may be having.

Her Excellency, President of Liberia Hon. Helen Johnson describes that leaders select to be and serve as role models to the individuals they represent. They must act as symbols of whatever they preach, including peace, honest and loyal to their country. In doing this, the whole region being represented will be at an advanced and more developed status as is with every country’s ambition and aspirations. She explains that leadership is a cumulative role that encompasses both the representatives and the people being represented. It is not a role played by single personnel but is the relationship between the leading personnel and the constituencies and the regions that the same individuals represent. She further brings into light that leadership is a God-given task and can be taken away if they are not capable of leading their countries and communities with the command from heaven based on moral.

You tube worldwide interview with the President Kagame of Rwanda reveals that society is inter-generationally if and only if each of the generations at their given time, manage to contribute their fair share to the economy and the country at large. This is so that members of the coming generations can satisfy their needs and requirements, which will, in turn, enable them to avoid any harm and political instability that may cause destructions and loss of property in a country. The president suggests that in his years of service as the president in power his main objective has been to enable this to work so as to solve and prevent any ugliness situation like the one experienced during the Rwanda genocide which, as claimed by the head of state, was caused by such reasons.

Changes in Political Leadership in Africa

Despite all the challenges and drawbacks in the political leadership and structure in the African countries’ set up, most developments and improvements have been experienced in the near past which is playing a major role in improving the status of the continent and its well-being. These changes and improvements have been incorporated by almost every country in the region, despite the colonial power, basics, and structures laid by the same colonials. Among the most influential and upgrades in the political system, is the integration and incorporating of the women leaders in the countries since women were not considered at all before the political system was improved. Among some of the women leaders in power that are most influential and motivating are the likes of President Helen Johnson who was the first woman to be elected as the head of state in Liberia and is still serving as the president having accomplished a lot of objectives in the country that could have done by a man president too. This brings out the importance of incorporating women in political leadership

Other countries have also been on the verge of incorporating women in leadership and thereby creating a gender-based political leadership among various countries which enable for opening up of ideas for improvements and development. This is unlike the past where women were not allowed to represent a community, not even a constituency since they were observed as limited in political information and were incapable of leading. The youth has also been incorporated into the leadership process by the reduction of the age limit to vie for various seats in the leadership system. This has helped encouraged new ideas and improvement on various fields which in turn is turning the political leadership in the continent to turn the other way round. Consultations and conversation with other country’s leadership are also a major employed technique in the African political system. By doing this, business opportunities and contracts between countries are incorporated together for the well good of the countries both in past and the present.


From researches and observation, the political leadership in Africa is mostly based on ethnicity which provides platforms and basis upon which the modernity can be laid upon. The structures and systems involved in most of the countries in Africa are almost the same, thereby the experienced problems and challenges are lineally faced upon each leadership, which has called for the corporation and association of most of the countries to join heads in order to come up with best approaches to the challenges and differences that exist in their political systems. By adjusting the systems and incorporating new ideas in the leadership among women and the youth the countries in Africa are projected to improve both politically and economically.

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