4 Apr 2014
Photo: President Festus Mogae at 2012 Mo Ibrahim Forum.
A leader I would vote for: Botswana’s former president Festus Mogae
Don’t be fooled by appearances. That wry, dry sense of humour belies an incisive, no-nonsense leadership style – a man who is a chemistry of humility and strategic thinking. He is patient; he listens well; when all have spoken he intervenes; and one feels often that this really is the last word on the matter at hand. I cannot remember a conversation that did not end in laughter – often at his expense – as he regaled us with tales of the pomp and ceremony of being a Head of State. The lesson I walked away with was never to take oneself too seriously, to learn to laugh, and that the first battle is always to conquer ego: it is the worst enemy of a good leader.
President Mogae’s insistence on taking a tough stance against corruption is his lasting legacy. With his usual bluntness, he explains: “We need to protect the independence of public institutions. There must be the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and leaders who provide a role model by complying with the law.” Wisely, he adds: “It’s not that everything will be smooth, but that in the event that things go wrong, there are ways open to the aggrieved to find redress within the system.” Prudent advice to our own political class in South Africa.
Read More >