Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Recently the top story in the nation of Zambia that has caught the attention of the world is that of the "conviction' of our former president Mr. FTJ Chiluba over corruption charges brought against him. He was accused and convicted for stealing $41 million in his time in office.
My honest opinion is that we should forgive and forget and move on to more pressing matters in our nation such as the improvement of education infrastructure, health care, food security, and the issue of HIV/AIDS orphans and the street kid crisis. Now this is just my opinion and you're entitled to one as well.

At the core of this corruption crusade is more a serious issue that can plague Leadership at any level; that is the issue of INTEGRITY. The simplest definition of integrity I know is that Integrity is being trustworthy and transparent. If a person has integrity we should expect him to be honest and truthful in all his dealings. A leader's integrity builds trust among his/her followers and trust is the most important commodity that a leader should strive for if he is to be a success. Integrity is about character. People will usually forgive mistakes by a leader but they find it hard to continue respecting and trusting one who has a character flaw.

Anthony Harrigan , president of the U.S. business and industrial council said, "the role of character has been a key factor in the rise and fall of nations.And one can be sure that America is no exception to this rule in history. We wont survive as a country because we are smarter or more sophisticated but because we are-we hope- stronger inwardly. In short character is the only bulwark against internal and external forces that lead to a country's disintegration or collapse."

Lack of good character or integrity is what continues to plague the landscape of African leadership and my hope is that this young generation will earnestly develop character as a foundation for leadership. The lack of character makes any leader look immature and not worth following. John C. Maxwell put it well when he said, "Character makes trust possible."

So what can you start doing to develop your character?

1. Decide to be truthful to yourself and those around you. Don't be a habitual liar but a person who always tells the truth no matter the consequences.

2. Admit your mistakes, ask for forgiveness and move on. There is no turnoff like arrogance in a leader. The leader who earns the respect of those he leads is one that is willing to admit his mistakes openly.

3. Be transparent in your dealings. Never give people a chance to second guess or doubt you because of the way you deal with issues especially that of finances. Most leaders have a problem in this area. Build controls in your leadership structure that ensure that you are held accountable even by those you lead. I practice this in my job and my marriage. For instance, i will not make a purchase of $20 or more without consulting my wife.Why? Because we have chosen to be accountable to one another so that our finances are not destabilised. This way we both stay in range our budget. Now this system is based on our trusting each other; without integrity our system would fail.

This my friends is what will save us from our many woes in Africa and we must begin TODAY no matter what level of leadership we find ourselves at.

I will leave you with a quote from J.R Miller who said, " The only thing that walks back from the tomb with the mourners and refuses to be buried is the character of a man. That is true. What a man IS survives him. It can never be buried."

To your success!!

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