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We need leaders who are national

By Vision Reporter

Added 26th June 2006 03:00 AM

During the swearing-in of the new Cabinet, President Yoweri Museveni widely referred to my advice in the NRM caucus about the need for ministers and other national leaders to have national outlook so as to ease the task of selecting leaders. This would lessen the tendency of each region calling for

During the swearing-in of the new Cabinet, President Yoweri Museveni widely referred to my advice in the NRM caucus about the need for ministers and other national leaders to have national outlook so as to ease the task of selecting leaders. This would lessen the tendency of each region calling for

By William Okecho

During the swearing-in of the new Cabinet, President Yoweri Museveni widely referred to my advice in the NRM caucus about the need for ministers and other national leaders to have national outlook so as to ease the task of selecting leaders. This would lessen the tendency of each region calling for the son or daughter of their own to be appointed in position of national leadership.

Many past regimes have had ministers and top leaders who lacked national character. Their thinking is narrowed to their individual constituencies and localities.

This is the core of the problem. A nationalist leader should be broad in thinking and performance. In all forms of nationalism, the populations believe that they share some kind of common culture and nationalists must obviously have a positive attitude toward their own nation. A leader does not necessarily have to start a project in his constituency if it is a project that can be implemented in any other part of the country. His constituency must always not stand out alone as a beneficiary but it must peep out among other constituencies as co-beneficiaries.

Nationalism sees most human activity as national in character, not for a section of the community.
Ministers must always be seen to be all over the country supervising, checking progress of projects, consulting communities and counselling them.

What a leader must remember is that Uganda is civil nationalism which the state derives political legitimacy from the active participation of its citizenry, from the degree to which it represents the “will of the people”. Therefore, our ministers must be for entire nation.

It is important to know that leadership has a distinct difference from management:
lLeadership is setting a new direction or vision for a group that they follow. A leader is the spearhead for that new direction.
lManagement controls or directs people/resources in a group according to principles or values that have already been established.

Ministers must be seen to possess both qualities. They should be able to marry them because having one and lacking the other has loopholes.

Leadership without management sets a direction or vision that others follow, without considering too much how the new direction is going to be achieved. Other people then have to work hard in the trail that is left behind, picking up the pieces and making it work.
On the other hand, management without leadership controls resources to maintain the status quo or ensure things happen according to already-established plans.

Therefore, leadership combined with management does both — it sets a new direction and manages the resources to achieve it.
This should not be narrowed to ministers a lone but is applicable to all forms of leadership including the top 77 the President referred to recently. The same principle cuts across.

Organisations aim to improve their performance by identifying, selecting and developing individual potential. This is what President Museveni must have had in his mind when selecting his new cabinet. At the outset, the needs of the organisation, nation and Uganda in particular through the President’s manifesto, are usually well-defined but the individuals, who may become leaders, are unknown.

The organisational task is therefore one of:
-Identifying the profile of people who will enhance organisational performance
-Selecting individuals whose character, skills and potential closely match that profile
-Developing those individuals so their potential becomes a reality.

That is, an organisation develops a framework to assess people and develop those who are chosen.

The writer is the MP for West Budama County North

We need leaders who are national

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