Thursday 26 October 2006

The Oscar for Best Leader in an Actor's Role?

The mobile benefactor
And so, some mobile phone business mogul who has made it big in the growing communications market of Africa is offering a prize for best leadership and governance in Africa - $5 million – that is a tidy sum.
The way things are, if people in leadership seek a legacy of integrity, honour and visionary ideas that bring progress to their people, it is a worthy cause.
It would probably excite the head of some Bantustan to vie for prestige, in other places where the leaders already have their hands deep in the tiller and have converted the treasury into a personal bank or milked aid for beautifying their homes and beatifying their personalities – this would be a lost cause.
An Oscar for global leadership?
It is, all the same, a noble cause and though more than the Nobel Prize not to say cheap publicity for somebody called Mo Ibrahim – my cynicism could almost state that this could mean favourable contract terms for a mobile phone business.
As Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan have expressed support for this contest, I do wonder if for now, there is any leader in the West that would qualify for a real leadership prize, whatever the means and terms of determining the winner.
Low expectation complex
In fact, Wikipedia appears to suggest that the bar is quite low; the leader only does not have to plunder the resources of their country and should hold free and fair elections – for a basic award and lifetime pension after their term in office – sounds rather persuasive. Human rights? Not a mention.
If this is the standard required, not only is it a complex of low expectations, it exemplifies a crisis of good leadership in Africa, first steps, this might be, but I am far from excited by it all.
So, the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leadership Role goes to …
If you have ideas for contenders, please tell.

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