A nation led by depressed leaders

SHARE   |   Monday, 21 November 2016   |   By Simon Gabathuse
A nation led by depressed leaders

Every society has its own problems. Our society appears to be at the very most suffering from unethical leadership that can’t set examples to the nation. A leader that does not resign or excuse themselves from a leadership position even when they are visibly depressed is a leader in denial. A leader in denial is simply saying to the society that it is fine to be in denial. Such a leader is not worthy of emulation and is not needed. When such happens, it becomes a case of a nation being led by depressed people. Such a nation, no matter what the justification, cannot be a mentally healthy nation. Such a nation shall not determine between normality and abnormality. Such leaders are not different from those who hold onto power even when their age is that of senile beings. These people just love power and the sound of it. They are no different from the many leaders across the African continent who refuse to relinquish power yet it has become clear that they are absolute failures to their people. In certain instances, these supposed leaders were raised by traditional families, in some instances, royal families. It becomes even more difficult to not look away when royals engage in a fashion detrimental to the social healthiness of a nation. It is just too pathetic to be a thought.


There have been signs that some Botswana leaders are more depressed than the society they are supposed to be leading. But as is the nature of Batswana, we take long to respond to challenges that affect leaders. Traditionally leaders are elders. One is therefore bound to assume that the reason why when some ailments such as depression attack our leaders, or supposed leaders, the nation simply looks away, is derived from the generations before us. One is tempted not to blame a nation such as ours for looking away when leaders exhibit some form of mental dislocation. Such leaders appear to be blaming society for their misfortunes after they once had it all. It has been, and remains our custom that youngsters, in this matter; subjects, cannot discuss the ailment of a leader or an elder. This is for the simple reason that traditionally, being a leader has always been equated with being an elder and in most instances this has also translated to mean that elders are leaders in their own right responsible for the generations after them. Sadly this notion has diminished. The notion has diminished because the current crop of leaders resort to habit forming drugs than seek help from family members when they reach a stage of depression.  When leaders engage in habit forming drugs, or to be blunt, in illegal drug and substance abuse, the nation perceives that to be something that can be done without shame. We all know the consequences of drug addicts being paraded as leaders; such misleads upcoming generations. This is not only about being legally incorrect, it is more painfully being morally dead.


There are principles that govern any nation. Ours included. Some principles are more legally attached than are of moral obligations. There are perceived or living and vibrant instruments that guide the society. Some are mere principles dependent on the ethicality of the person involved. When it comes to leadership such are more dependent on the good will and the honesty of that person. Leadership being obviously voluntary and assigned, delegated or designated I will here though encompass both, though inclined more towards the so-called voluntary. I am calling it the so-called voluntary because in its traditional origins, it did not draw a salary. This has made the notion of perceiving an elected politician as a leader to be devoid of certainty. The leadership, or supposed leadership, is more of a job for money  than interest of the society. It has also produced mentally disturbed beings who are totally lost in the interest for being seen to be in power at the detriment of a nation. They can’t even take responsibility for their actions. They might as well just walk naked. Being Batswana that we are, we will look away and pretend it did not happen.


We find out that voluntary leadership, or the so called voluntary leadership is paid for in various, yet similar ways including but not limited to allowances, remunerations and salaries etcetera. This situation of having to appreciate voluntary leadership in monetary terms has created problems for all of us. Botswana is not an exception to all the problems. We are therefore duty bound, by national interest, and societal upkeep, to engage our minds on this matter. I might here use an instigation of unfolding public fora allegations, and I might not being doing so. But nonetheless this does not change the context nor does it negate the content of my presentation herein. The discussion remains that of leadership expectations within the confines of a society. Such expectations which have held societies together for a long time have been diminished by those supposed leaders with a mentality of entitlement. On the legal front, just to give an example, one must not drive a motor vehicle under the influence of set alcohol limit by a statutory law. If one is caught doing this, he or she is subjected to an applicable legal remedy. There are two things why those under the influence of alcohol voluntary decide not to drive motor vehicles. The first reason is that they are citizens who are aware that to do such is tantamount to a crime. Theirs is a legal reason, and as the law doctrines holds; morality does not equate to law nor vice versa. They simply do not want to offend the laws of the land where they might lose their driving licences or lose their dignity by a mere legal processes of dragging them before public courts and hence wounding their dignity and social standing.  But society shall not care even if they wounded their dignity and social standing when the same society is being led by depressed people in denial of their mental dislocation.


Another example, the reason why a citizen may voluntarily opt not to drive a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol is because of the realisation that such a decision is not in the best interest of society as it endangers other road users, or to put it more bluntly, it endangers the society. Citizens can only continue upholding such good morals when the leadership of a nation is seen to be conducting themselves in a morally right manner. When leaders fail to uphold moral high ground citizens also lose the desire to do the same due to lack of inspiration. There is nothing wrong with this morally upright citizen. There is rather everything wrong with a supposed leader who engages in wayward behaviour. This behaviour will not be exemplary and will not inspire any subject, to behave differently. Society naturally, and traditionally mirrors its own leaders. It is for this reason that we ought to, as a society, begin to engage our minds on the possibility of an upright nation being led by the socially dislocated. I have no reason to believe that anyone will be in the negation that we are not going to win the war against habit forming drugs, alcohol and substance abuse, illegal possession of illegal drugs, alcoholism when we have amongst our ‘leaders’ those who stand for everything that leads the society to moral decay. We must open a discussion on these matters, actually we must rise against them for if we do not do that, then our children and generations to come are doomed.
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