We know that transformation or any other change, is one of the most challenging processes to go through or to implement with any measure of success. In this regard, transforming our nation of Uganda and indeed other nations in Africa is certainly set to be that much harder. Achieving success in a change or transformation process is difficult to demonstrate, difficult to measure and can never be guaranteed no matter the level of preparation. It depends on a myriad of intertwined factors working together and the obstacles against it are many.
I have been working with public sector institutions to implement transformation. But I have seen instances where change fails to take off, where it is painfully slow, when it has become fragmented and only some sections understand while others remain ambivalent. But there is a worse and more disheartening situation, when change that has been achieved unravels and goes backwards to re-freeze at original status quo. Having made the first attempt at change and failing to freeze at the new norm, the entity under transformation, has been seen to go right back to a state worse off than before. Worse off because it has now garnered new information during the process of transition and has now reconfigured to build resilience against any future knocks or attempts on it to transform.
Thus national transformation is very difficult. Uganda and Africa in general continue to suffer a lack of provision for basic human needs despite the resources that we have. Uganda has not yet begun to convert its mineral wealth into prosperity for its people and so the story of poverty continues accompanied by the mother of all national evils, corruption. In 2018 Uganda was ranked 149th out of 175 by Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. While the UNDP Human Development Index rankings for 2018 put Uganda at 162th out of 189 countries placing us in the low human development category. This goes to demonstrate the challenge we face, the exceedingly slow rate of conversion to national transformation and which unravels sometimes.
True we have posted some successes in transformation with institutions like the URA, NWSC, NSSF, URSB and KCCA but the way things work is that whatever success is made, it quickly evaporates when stories of fraud, mismanagement and corruption by our leaders come to the fore.
We have not done enough to influence collective action against status quo largely because we think we are unable. Helplessness is akin to fatalism which is how we lived centuries back. This and inaction are faulty ways of thinking.
If the way we think is faulty, then what we need is a mindset shift. As government leaders, heads of institutions, business leaders and people in a positions of influence we need to realize that what is going on around us in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa is no-one else’s problem to solve but ours. That a change in our way of thinking is first area of adjustment. It means changing the way we think about leadership and the crucial role it plays to accelerate the rate of national transformation and galvanize efforts to collective action against the obstacles the destroy our future.
Our new perspective and approach to the role and quality of leadership, seeks primarily to restore our ability as leaders to master our world and have decisive dominion over it. This is a must if Uganda is to move to the next level or prosperity.
In revamping the concept of leadership in Uganda, we demonstrate seriousness about electing, appointing and developing the right leaders. Leadership with a transformational mind-set is the new norm that we aspire to that will to move Uganda to the next level.
- Leadership should not to be looked at as power as in political dynamics, or authority to deny or confer privileges, or seniority in years or longevity. Instead it should be viewed in the lens of a heart of service and wisdom. To lead and create value for the people. It is going to take a lot of wisdom, honesty and solid work ethics to create prosperity for the nation out of the oil reserves that we have.
- Leadership is about being an influencer, empowering people to take action against the evils of corruption.
- Instead of being critical and belittling Uganda like we do often, we need to shift attitudes and flip the issue on its head and speak of our love and protection for our motherland and inspire the younger generations to do the same. Let us not throw in our lot with the complainers. Instead of challenge we should look for opportunities.
- Instead of following dishonest policies of dividing the loot between officers in mismanagement and fraud, there should be intentional policies to create wealth for everyone out of our activities and not just a small portion of the nation.
- We need a mindset shift to recognize that the quick gains and material things we want and the culture that we accept are the very things that destroy our country and our people. – Instant gratification – our young workers want to own the same kinds of cars and houses like ministers within a year of working; we have a culture of big spending versus a savings culture i.e. consumerism versus investment; we have a culture of being entitlement versus a culture of solid work ethics.
- We need a mindset shift not to run from problems but to run towards them and solve them. We see many who run from the country in search of medical expertise only to get to South Africa or Germany and find the doctor operating on you is another Ugandan who had also ran away from the corrupt system. These days the youth have a cynical way of expressing disgust with their country. They say “Uganda Zaabu” with cynicism.
- To change and make improvements in our world we must demonstrate a higher moral standing and superior principles that we operate with. Be ye not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. You can only change people and corrupt systems if you are not conformed to them.
- We need a mindset shift on the fact that there is really no middle ground. Leaders must understand that there is no such thing as middle ground. Either they embody and demonstrate principles of integrity, honesty, hard work and accountability or they don’t. Half-commitment is what leads to injustice in our systems and to endemic levels corruption in our nation.
Finally, before we can create the change we want to see, we need to intentionally overwrite the entire belief system that we operate on to take on a transformation mindset that has a positive impact on people’s lives, is powerful and is enduring. This mindset will move Uganda to the next level because it is not conformed to the patterns of this world. It leads from a position of superior principles and higher moral standing. It calls for leaders with exceptional skills. Even though we suffered massive plundering by former colonial powers and continue to suffer under neo-colonial systems, what we need to understand is that the control to change the trajectory is all in our hands. That with such knowledge we no longer have any excuse to leave things to fate. When our leaders finally gain a heart of service, there is hope that transformation bring in a new order that will be sustainable.