How can we expect African leaders to not be corrupt?

How can we expect African leaders (many of whom are ex-rebels) to not be corrupt if no-one bothers to convincingly teach them why they shouldn’t be?

How can we expect them to be visionary and care for their people, if we don’t provide training that inspires them to follow great leaders like Mandela, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Obama, and others?

How can we expect ex-rebels to govern well,if we don’t help them update their thinking and their strategies to th e new situations they find themselves in?

You may have been bought up in a good family, who taught you good morals, and who taught you that the more you contributed, the more successful you’d be.

Why then, would you judge others who missed this training, instead of focusing on helping to provide the training they missed?

The more you put yourself in the shoes of others, the more you realise that we are all doing the best we can (to be happy), with the (often limited) understanding and resources we have.

Transform the mind, the thinking, the attitudes, the heart, and the approach of leaders as they transition from rebel to government leaders,and everything will change.

Ignore this training, and they will remain exactly as they were when they were rebels.

If you want peace and prosperity in Africa, there is an answer. Lets use it.- TL

P.S. Let’s consider some very basic examples of the sort of training required:

Imagine you’re working with ex-rebel leaders, who now form the government, in Africa, Nepal, or wherever.

 Changing strategies and approaches:

You could start by having them look at the strategies that led them to be successful as rebels: e.g. Intimidating people, playing win-lose, stealing and murdering in order to survive   and become more powerful. Then you’d ask how successful they’d be if they applied  these strategies to a peacetime activity – like running a restaurant.  After examining what would work in running a restaurant, you’d then have them look at what would work in running a large organisation…, and what would work in running a government. And you’d help them update their strategies, their thinking, and their approach, - not just intellectually, but with powerful psychological methods that actually transform participants.

Changing the way they think about corruption

“Most Africans think that the main purpose of seeking top leadership is to be in a position where you can access large amounts of money—for yourself, your family, your relatives, and even for your tribe.

e.g. One of the first arguments of the new coalition government in Kenya following the post-election violence, was that one party, ODM, complained that the other party, PNU, had retained all the “fat” and “juicy” ministries. Of course, corrupt leaders know that corruption is bad. But that’s like a Christian saying that sex before marriage is bad. Approximately 98% of Ugandans say that sex before marriage is bad. Yet roughly 98% of Ugandans have sex before marriage. It’s one thing to consider something theoretically bad. It’s another to really believe in your heart and soul that it’s bad. So if you want to reduce corruption, the first thing you need to do is to make the impact of corruption real to the leaders you’re training.” - TL

You might look at some down-to-earth examples of the role of a leader. You might start with the role of a father  (e.g. “Would you think it’s OK to use your children’s money for your own personal benefit?”), or you could consider a situation where the ex-rebel is the donor, like if he gives some money to his brother to take their mother to hospital.

e.g. “Would you think it’s OK if he skims off some of the money meant for hospital fees?”
“If he had to stay overnight at a hotel, would you mind if he stays at the fanciest hotel available?”
“If he needs to hire a car, would you want him to hire a Mercedes or to be more cost conscious?”

And in examining these down-to-earth examples, you’d have them see how debased the whole idea of corruption is.

You’d also get them to examine the true, personal cost of corruption to the individuals it affects.

e.g. “If there’s $3 billion in the treasury, you might think stealing $100K is irrelevant. But that $3bn is just $100 per person (in a country like Uganda). And that $100 per person in the treasury, is what paid for your schooling, and that paid for some of the basic medical treatment that kept you alive. That $100 a person will save the lives of thousands infected with HIV. Without that $100 per person – and the roads and the infrastructure and the law that it buys, your country will collapse. So if you steal $100K its almost like killing the 1000 people that it was intended for. Are you really prepared to kill a thousand people just so that you can buy a Mercedes?…”

Dealing with conflict constructively

You’d do some powerful hands-on exercises that have participants think from the perspectives of others, including their enemies.

You’d demonstrate how trying to overpower their opponents only results in more opposition.

You’d have them recognise that win/win thinking is the only way that will work in the long run.

And you’d teach them how to think and how to apply win/win thinking in their daily and work lives.

 Teaching them to be wisely selfish
(The motivation model described is partly based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but modified by Tony Lenart for working with new governments.)

“Everyone’s deepest desire is to be happy.
Greed and violence are merely misguided (& ineffective) strategies designed to achieve personal happiness.” - TL

You’d explain how the lowest level of motivation is survival—and that the ex-rebels have shown fantastic skills and success in this, which you as a teacher simply don’t possess—and which would probably have led to your death if you had been in their shoes.

You’d explain that when people have their survival and security needs met, they tend to look for power and status (which is the next level) —and that this will probably be the first thing the ex-rebels seek, now that they are moving out of survival consciousness. But you’d demonstrate that their real desire is the next level: —happiness.

And that the surest way to achieve happiness is to operate from the top level of motivation: —contribution. And so by appealing to their ego, and their common sense, you’d teach them to be wisely selfish —by teaching them how to maximise what they are really seeking for.

Changing their role models
If the only heroes ex-rebel leaders have had are violent rebels, then they will continue to be violent even if they’re now the leaders.
By introducing inspirational role models, like Obama, Mandela, Martin Luther King, & Gandhi, to these leaders, and doing it in a powerful, emotionally-connected way, it’s possible to transform the attitudes, approach, vision, and commitment of leaders.

In summary
Even if these were the only exercises you did, imagine how much difference they could make, particularly if the training was provided just as the ex-rebels were about to become government leaders and ministers.

And how much impact could these exercises have if you did them one-on-one with an ex-rebel whose just been made the president of his country?

   “If people keep doing the same things they’ve always done, they’ll keep getting the same results they’ve always got.”

“People don’t magically transform by themselves, but if you give the right training, and you show leaders how they will benefit through doing the right things, then they will change.” - TL

 - Tony Lenart,,
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