Integrity Matters in Public Service

As you head out to go cast your vote today, please consider the impact of your decision on the future generation. Hence, your choice should reflect your integrity level. Integrity matters in public service so vote wisely!

In the not so distance past, America has used her moral authority to serve humanity and bring about peace and security through cooperation not alienation. However, with the rise of populism globally, it is imperative today to instill integrity in our children through education and one of our most cherished freedoms, such as the right to vote. So, selecting a great public servant is one of the best ways to do your part in teaching our next generation about integrity. We don’t know what the future holds but one thing that is certain is that one of the best ways to counter dangerous populism, corruption, unethical use of technology, business and political practices is by training the young generation integrity. Curriculums and actions that are created with the purpose of promoting integrity end up fostering essential skills and igniting the process of learning in the young minds.

As an aspiring and emerging community leader, I place a significant value on integrity. I believe that integrity should be essential in any meaningful undertaking that has the ability to empower one to alter oneself and his or her environment or the world. As saying goes, education is the key. But, education without integrity is a waste of time that is unrecoverable. More like building a house without a solid foundation. A great education must be embedded with integrity. An education that values integrity enables young people to respect and tolerate each other’s views while expressing their unique experiences and views. In other words, integrity encourages learning and it makes learning fun for the young minds, as they are not afraid to convey their thoughts in a respectable manner.

Your vote today can be the beginning.

Happy Voting Day!

 

 

 

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Importing western ideas is not new or the problem but leadership is… African Leadership Crisis.

A friend of mine asked me about my thoughts on the issue of importing American/Western style of government and practices into African politics and government.

The first thing that came to my mind were interesting Facebook postings comparing the American politics and government to those of African countries after a great State of Union Speech delivered by President Obama. Hence, my initial thoughts were that importing American ideas into African politics and government is a waste of time, because, logically it seems as a simple case of an orange and an apple comparison or a false analogy. However, after reflecting on the concept for few minutes, I realized that importing American/western ideas into African government and politics is not a new phenomenon. It has been so since the existence of modern African governments. Therefore, it should be viewed as updating a concept. In that case, if done properly in the African context, it would be a good thing. However, importing ideas is not the real problem. Instead, the real problem is leadership crisis around Africa.

A quick glance at the history of modern Africa illustrates that current Africa political and government system is a type of governance forced upon African people since the 19th century until now. So importing American type of government and principles is a mere updating of the system as former colonial masters’ expected. Modern African countries were built based on foreign concepts, and not on indigenous principles of governance. For instance, my native Liberia, one of Africa’s first Republics moot, is a “duplication” of the U.S.A. form of government with minor differences. Even, the notion of Independence and Human Rights prescribed in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that advocates for self-determination, which influenced African leaders to demand their freedom and sovereignty takes its roots in Western philosophies. African Revolutionary leaders like Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and others were trained in the Western world with a western ideas and principles. It is sad to admit that modern African’s government and political system is an imported one. Further, most of the existing institutions and societal norms (e.g. religion norms) are imported as well.

As a result, African countries are constantly playing the “catching up” game with the West….It is like buying a software that needs a constant upgrade. So whenever there is a new version, there is a need to update the old one. If not, it will become sluggish or useless in comparison to the new one. Hence, African leaders are left to choose whether they should continue updating their institutions for their people or for the west. Alternatively, they can choose to abandon the old system all together, which may not be feasible in this global world. However, with a good and strong leadership, it is possible to borrow new ideas from the West and adapt them to African realities for the betterment of African people.

The prerequisite for transforming or adapting good ideas from the West for Africa local use is good leadership. In other words, this cannot be done in a vacuum of a good and strong leadership. Leaders who do not have the people and country at heart have no place in the new Africa. Such leaders only import ideas that benefit them and their cronies instead of the masses. Unfortunately, this has been the hallmark of many leaders around the continent.

The good news is that some African leaders, such as John Magufuli of Tanzania and Ian Khama of Botswana are on aggressive transformation moves that are incorporating some of the best practices from the West with local values and practices to advance their people and countries. Leaders such as Thomas Sankara, Patrice Lumumba, Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah and Jomo Kenyatta just to name a few that have done great job in the past. Unfortunately, Africa problem remains the lack of continuation of good leadership to continue on the good work of the few enlightened leaders.

Arguably, the great United States was once a new nation whom leaders imported ideas from ancient civilizations like Egypt, Rome and Greece to create a new and powerful system that is not perfect but constantly updating as well. Imagine African leaders importing great ideas from around the world to create the next superpower. This is possible with excellent leadership.

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