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According to the Gallup World Poll’s ninth World Happiness Report (2021), SA leads the race as one of the most unhappy countries in the world.
I am sure this makes our parliamentary leaders happy as they battle behind closed doors, hard at work to ensure we become the world leader in despair and misery.
However, it is doubtful they will view this world ranking as an embarrassment. Perhaps they will wear it as a new badgeof honour, as they appear to do with all of their other failures.
“Don’t worry, be happy” can only work if we know we are in good, capable hands, guided and led by knowledgeable leaders we respect and who have the best interests of all of our citizens at heart. Until then, it is a case of “worry, don’t be happy”.
While we drown in the misery they created, our government lives off the ever-shrinking tax base of the land. Can weeven afford to keep such a highly paid, ineffective and bloated parliament, where some are paid more than many leaders in the industrialised world?
How can our country possibly turn this farce around and regain continental and international respect? More importantly, how can our leaders regain our respect – if ever? Equally important: do they even deserve our respect?
Effective leaders have a vision. They make decisions and ensure and oversee their implementation. They take responsibility for their decisions and hold themselves accountable to higher authority. They care for all of their people.
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Ineffective leaders fail or hesitate to make decisions, thereby directing their subjects to failure. To deflect blame, they resort to finger-pointing, misdirection, ethnic prejudice and race baiting.
Effective leaders know their role is founded in selfless service, not in entitlement, nepotism, race, personal power over others, or self-enrichment.
They put the goals and needs of their people and the nation above personal desires, likes, dislikes, interests and needs.
Our future is characterised by factional infighting within the ruling party, national discontent, legitimate grievances, self-destruction, mindless anarchy and violence and mind-boggling corruption.
Leadership has principles – truths that have been validated over centuries. Do our political leaders not know that the core of these principles is founded on plan, organise, lead, control and communicate?
Our supposed political leaders have morphed into locusts that will eat and destroy whatever is in their path. Currently, it is fair to say that our great country is not great because of our leaders but, rather, because of our people – people our leaders have continually ignored and sought to divide so they can continue ruling. This gives us all a reason to worry and not be happy.
Leaders put their people before themselves. They have empathy for those they lead. They suffer the same hardships and deprivations of those they lead.
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Leaders know respect does not come with a title, it is earned. Have those who sit in our parliament and view themselves above us all earned our respect?
I fear not. Instead, they have trampled on the hopes and aspirations of the voters and turned our country into a shadow democracy led by bloated locusts.
Until we, all of the people, have leaders who truly lead, we ought to be very worried and not happy.
Mashaba is the author of Practical Politics, Power and Governance in Africa, an entrepreneur and a political advisor.