Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan

Dr Kofi Atta Annan, the Former United Nations Secretary-General, has said Africa needs courageous, persistent and compassionate leaders who would tap into the continent’s vitality to create a better future.

He said Africa needed true democratic leaders who understood that they were at the service of their citizens and not the other way round.

He explained: “Leadership is service, leaders must understand that they hold power in trust of the people and can also be taken away.”

“Part of the problem is that many countries have for too long invested too much power and hope in strong presidents, others have been misled by leaders who use this augment to prolong their stay in office indefinitely.”

Dr Annan said this when delivering an address on the topic: “Leadership and Public Service,” at the Mfantsipim Old Boys Association’s (MOBA) Fundraising Ceremony, in Accra, on Thursday.

The MOBA annual event known as the “MOBA Ebusuapanyin’s Lunch” is aimed at creating a platform for discourse on issues of national interest.

The former UN Secretary-General noted that the key to the African continent’s ability to chart the turbulent waters ahead would be the quality of leadership.

He said: “Every year it hurts me to see thousands of people drowned in the Mediterranean in search of a better life because they do not think it is possible to have them at home.

“It is profoundly disturbing to see so many Ghanaians included in the 2017 migrants who attempted to make the dangerous crossing through sand and sea for a new life in Europe,” he noted.

He, therefore, urged African leaders to harness the potentials of the youth by strengthening the three pillars of healthy democratic societies thus, ensuring peace and security, inclusive development and rule of law as well as respect for human right.

He said these three pillars must be taken holistically and served as the foundation for Africa’s development agenda.

“A leader must listen…a leader must listen to what is said… and above all, to what is not said. A good leader must also be a good follower and when leaders failed to lead, the people will lead and make them follow, “stated

He said: “We need strong institutions to buttress our system, we also need to think beyond the State, strong businesses, strong civil societies to hold government to the promises they make to the people will just as be important”.

The international diplomat noted that although some African leaders organised elections but many of those elections lacked integrity, saying; “elections with integrity confers legitimacy on winners and offers protection to losers”.

“Many elections have paradoxically exacerbated identity politics as unscrupulous politicians’ panther to ethnic and religious grievances and prejudices to mobilise voters in their favour.”

He noted that the African population would grow to two billion in 2050 and four billion by the end of the century and added that this democratic boom could be a blessing or a curse depending on the policies we adopt.

“But the current trends are grounds for concern.”

He said the youth were getting better educated more connected and had higher expectations than any previous generation…but asked…What are their prospects?

Dr Annan explained: “There can be no long term peace and security without development, and there can be no long term development without peace and security and no society can prosper without respect for the rule of law and human right”.

“The African continent development cannot and will not come from a single leader but from the collective transformation and change from all the citizenry, each have a role to play as individuals whether in our family, communities or countries,” he said.

He said we must offer the growing young population the opportunity for employment and prosperous future rooted in African values.

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor graced the occasion as well as some former ministers of state.

The ceremony brought together old mates of the School who reminisced the good old days.

They shared fond memories of the past, especially events and activities at school.

One recounted an incident where Dr Annan led students to stage a strike against the school authorities in protest over poor meals.

As part of the programme there was an exhibition and auction of art pieces from Dr Annan’s personal collection, which captured his work with the UN and activities in countries struck by conflicts and natural disasters.

Source: GNA/Newsghana.com.gh