Role of ethical leadership in realization of SDGs

07Feb 2016
Guardian On Sunday
Role of ethical leadership in realization of SDGs

LACK of ethical leadership spells doom to sustainable development in Tanzania, which stakeholders are now ready to overcome, but the question remains on the modalities

Dr. Camillus Kassala

This was the concluding statement during farewell party held on the first of this month at Coral Beach Hotel in Dar es Salaam when friends and working partners of Konrad Adenaeur Stiftung (KAS) and German Embassy staff met to see off the departing Resident Director, Stefan Reith.Mr. Reith headed KAS for the past five years and his term of tenure came to an end last December. He has since been replaced by Daniel El-Noshokaty.Through KAS and co-operation with the German government, the Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy (MNMA), formerly Kivukoni Ideological College, was established in the early sixties.Coincidently, the occasion was preceded by a maiden presentation by Dr. Camillus Kassala, lecturer and dean of students at the Eastern African Statistical Training Centre. He is the author of a book on the contribution of Kivukoni College, which is now in its final touches.Dr Kassala dwelt at length on the challenges of unethical leadership which, implicitly, are the major outcry of many who would like to see Tanzania depart from its current economic woes and development stagnation.He disclosed that careful reading of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) showed that each category of ethical leadership had a very responsible role in ensuring that the goals are achieved.For example, one would expect that an ethical civil society leader would be in the front line in advocating and guiding others in the implementation of goals that touch on the life and dignity of human persons.“In the context of developing African countries such as Tanzania, the demands and pressures on leaders in the realization of the SDGs are very big. Any leader who claims to be ethical and caring will have to prove in words and deeds that they mean what they say and do,” commented Kassala.Elaborating on the disadvantages of unethical leadership, Dr Kassala said this could bring about lack of a rallying mechanism for national unity among leaders.It can as well cause a disintegrated, if not lopsided, set of national values and ethics, voters lacking reference criteria when electing new leaders, as well as lack of a mechanism to check the infiltration of ‘power-hungry’ self-imposed leaders.He pointed out the lack of common standards and benchmarks to determine requisite capabilities and competences of people who want to be leaders, but also the absence of a formative regime to monitor and test the endurance and commitment of potential would-be leaders.On challenges, he suggested that given the disadvantages mentioned above, one would surmise the following challenges of not having institutional leadership preparedness: Building national consensus about key national and commonly accepted interests among leaders.Having a coherent, consistent and sustainable mechanism for permanence of national values and ethics, and even developing critical thinking voters in the exercise of their democratic rights.Contributing to the discussion, Pastor Christosiler Kalata from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), traced the weaknesses not in educational institutions as such but the lack of a long-term vision by the state itself.He revisited the early stages of building socialism as attributed to Julius Nyerere’s philosophies. That was to have set in what all Tanzanians should focus on,  Socialism and Self-Reliance, but currently, he argued, it was very difficult to tell the aspirations of the state.But Prof. Shadrack Mwakalila, the Principal of MNMA, said his institution had already re-introduced leadership courses which will cover the gap that was caused by neglect of the courses, which it used to offer previously when it was under the autonomy of the ruling party.“We have already worked on the discrepancies and we are quite sure soon the cry about unethical leadership will subside,” he commented.But, as if to offer ‘comradely criticism,’ Dr Kassala was quick to point out that training only was not enough, saying a reading culture would add value to this effort.The don critiqued that it has been a common practice that even the current reports from the available think tank like the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), Taknet and Policy Research for Development (REPOA) are always ignored.For his part Rodrick Lutembeka one of the participants at the event called for institutions to check carefully on the side effects of globalization because some of the negative effects have a spillover effect to the youngsters who are expected to become future leaders of this country.For his part, Safari Minja, Executive Director, Civic Education Teachers Association (CETA), said Tanzanians from all walks of life should emulate the working modality of Reith, who worked hard in order to maintain peace and tranquility of this country.KAS, through Reith, had sponsored a good number of symposiums for its working partners, including CETA. Other beneficiaries were Inter-Religious Council for Peace Tanzania (IRCPT), Wanawake Wakatoliki Tanzania (WAWATA) and many others.In the same effort, KAS organized a football match between religious leaders and diplomats before the general election last year.