It is common knowledge that many who are part of the electorate in Uganda and those who they vote for have a warped sense of what leadership is. You will often hear of `very good` candidates simply because they attend all the local weddings and contribute towards the purchase of beer. I distinctly remember in 2011 asking a workmate why he was going to vote for a particularly local council candidate. His response, although humorous, was telling. The candidate of his choice was rich and therefore was easy to borrow money from. He added that this candidate had a reputation of forgetting who he lent money to and so making him a “very good man”.
If we are going to transform Uganda the electorate needs to know and understand what leadership is. Organisations that carry out voter education should make the teaching of what real leadership is one of their primary priorities. I would suggest that their focus is on one word which is INTEGRITY.
My dictionary defines integrity as,` the quality of always behaving according to the moral principles that you believe in, so that people respect and trust you`. The good thing with this word integrity is that embedded in it is words like fairness, honesty, strong moral and ethical principles, excellence, togetherness, sincerity etc. The list is endless. Integrity could be translated into the different languages of Uganda. It would then become the buzz word in Uganda against which all leaders are either elected or appointed.
Imagine the transformation we would have in 10-20 years if, from the level of primary school prefect right up to the level national leaders everyone understood what integrity is. Each time a leader is about to be chosen at any level we would all have a check list of the words that encompass integrity. Integrity would become the focus of any election. Whether candidates are giving away trinkets at their rallies or discussing the nation`s economic policy integrity would be the buzz word.
I am convinced that the focus on this one world will enhance transformation process. The NGOs, private and public sectors would be encouraged to adopt it.
Integrity would be used to challenge corruption, poverty , the education system, the road network, the health delivery system etc We would ask aspiring leaders questions like:
- How have you shown integrity in the past year?
- Which leader of integrity do you look up to?
- How are you going to promote integrity?
- Why is integrity important to you?
Along with the lists that show us the best schools in the country we would have one showing the top 100 institutions that have displayed integrity. Imagine the interest and discussion this list would bring. Companies not making the list in one year would go full out to make sure they in the following year.
Fellow Ugandans( I feel like one after living here for almost 10 years) let us not accept anything less.Integrity will undoubtedly make us feel and believe that we are the pearl of Africa. We can certainly become the pride of Africa. For God and my country.