Connect with us


What Is A Leader? – Lessons from Namibia’s Dr. Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun’s Parliamentary Maiden Speech

Brian Kazungu



Leadership is seemingly a complex phenomenon with a serious impact on the reality of mankind across the world and as such, there is a great need for continued engagement in literacy programmes on this subject so that it is better understood and be effectively practised.

According to the Meriam-Webster’s Dictionary, a leader is a person who has a commanding authority or influence.

In a book titled The Practical Executive, leadership is described as the creation, provision, maintenance and promotion of a conducive environment for the harmonious and progressive interaction of people and utilization of resources.

The above definitions all seek to simplify the subject of leadership in order to promote informed, conscious and deliberate approaches that help people and institutions to pursue opportunities in life as they arise and to defend against threats which seek to interfere with peace and happiness.

In order to better understand this subject, under the banner Connections2Communities, a WhatsApp group was with a title What Is a Leader was created by an author and businessman Mutumwa Mawere.

This WhatsApp group is comprised of a diversity people including prominent academics, politicians, industrialists and many other people from across all the walks of life all over the world.

Even though a number of views have been presented and discussed on the subject of leadership, much of the debates and discussion in the group ends being inclined to political leadership more than other areas of influence and impact.

As such, in line with the political angle, we are going to draw some profound lessons on leadership from a parliamentary maiden speech made by Dr. Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun.

Dr. Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun is a former parliamentarian, former Chamber of industry and Commerce president as well as a hotelier (Hilton Hotel) in Namibia.

In one telephone conversation that I had with her, she shared many insights on what she believes to be leadership and what she perceives it to be not including saying that it’s about dedication and passion and not popularity.

I am going to list the leadership lessons from her speech and quote a portion of that speech from where we draw the lessons from.


Lesson 1: Sense of Purpose, Compassion, Tolerance and Responsibility

I make this statement fully aware that the people of Namibia have invested in us their hopes, their trust and their confidence.

The people have done so with confidence that the laws we make are for them, on their behalf and to the benefit of all Namibians irrespective of political affiliations, ethnics or economic status.

A good leader knows the source of his or her mandate and carries out his/her duties with a sense of tolerance and open-mindedness taking into consideration the diversity that exists among people in a given setting.

Lesson 2: Effective Use of Time and Knowing That You Are Not the Only One Who Can Do It

I might only be here for a short while until the end of this term coming to an end, however, it matters not how long I will be here. What does matter is what I will have to say and what I will do here for and on behalf of the Namibian people. Therefore I believe it matters what I have to say here and now.

A good leader makes effective use of the given time and knows that he or she is replaceable and thus must act with a sense of humility and focus on results. He or she must not seek to cling to power forever.

Lesson 3: Honest with Reality In Pursuit of Long lasting Solutions.

Honourable speaker, honourable members, it is no secret that our economy has been registering negative growth for the past three years or so.

This contraction in this economy has caused severe socio-economic challenges in our society including closure of businesses, or several businesses in various sectors of our economy, increase of unemployment especially for the youth, increase in poverty.

I know this from my little experience as a business woman in Namibia.

A good leader must be honest and truthful in his/her engagements with people. He/she must not be misleading to the respective stakeholders.

Lesson 4: Knowledge of Your Duties and Responsibilities.

Honourable Speaker, honourable members, as law makers we have an obligation to exercise our oversight function in as far as compelling the executive arm of our state to implement suggested bold interventions which will stimulate our economic activities and generate positive growth in our economy.

Besides the source of his/her mandate, a good leader must be well informed of his actual duties and responsibilities because without that, it is difficult to focus on results and measure effectiveness.

Lesson 5: Provision of Real Life Solutions to Real Life Problems

It is important that we end the blame game and begin to work hand in hand as law makers, as executive, private sector and all other key stakeholders in our economy including individual citizens of this country.

If we continue on a ‘them and us’ path, it will take very very long to get this economy fixed.

We can also not afford over-politicizing our economic challenges unless we are not genuine about our patriotism and commitment to serving the Namibian nation across the political divide in this house in particular and in our society in general.

There is no option to unity of purpose as we face a common enemy in the form of unemployment, poverty, ignorance and other ills facing our society.

A good leader must be able to offer and provide practical and effective solutions to the problems that are being faced in the sphere of his/her jurisdiction.

Lesson 6: Sense of Duty and Accountability

When we were elected in this august house on the tickets of the different political parties, we must never forget that we are the first, the second and the foremost citizens of this great country and representatives of all Namibian people.

Our law making and conduct must therefore be guided by the needs of our people and the desire of those who elected us and shape their better future and success of the generations to come.

Lesson 7: Futuristic Mind-Set

Honourable Speaker, honourable members, in addition to our roles as law makers, we have a responsibility to educate and skill the Namibian people especially the youth.

We can expect our youth to create or to take advantage of opportunities if they are not provided with adequate skills and support to do so.

It is our duty to ensure that Namibia succeeds to transform itself into highly skilled nation able to innovate and produce a world class product that are able to compete in the international market but it is a fact that innovation is driven by skills.

Without adequate skills we cannot expect our youth to help us in this respect.

It remains imperative that we actively engage the Namibian youth who are the catalyst of progress especially in the technology driven development areas of what is commonly referred to as the Forth Industrial Revolution.

A good leader must a futuristic mind-set that ensures continuity and sustenance to better institutions and to the generality of the people in a given setting.

Lesson 8: Sense of Gratitude

I will fail in my duty if I omit to mention that Namibia Beef Industry made history last week yet again through Meatcom by sending of at least 25 tonnes of quality beef consignment to United States of America.

Such a landmark launch followed in the footsteps of another launch for the Chinese market last year. I therefore like to congratulate Namibia for being the only eligible African country to export beef of the information’s countries.

A good leader must not only focus on fault finding but must also be able to recognise whenever something positive is done and then be able to acknowledge and reward it in order to promote a culture of excellence for the common good of all.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Wisdom For Emerging Leaders: Balanced Living, Managing Depression and The Art of Public Speaking

Simbarashe Nyamadzawo



Simbarashe Nyamadzawo

Simbarashe Nyamadzawo, 23/02/2021

Creating a Balance between Pursuing Your Dreams and Being There For Your Peers

There is a certain point in time when you are emerging as a leader and there is a lot of demand placed on your gift. Everyone in your circle will want a piece of you. People get referred to you as the go to person.

You never want to break promises but you find yourself not keeping your word. Everyone is taking and taking from you, no one is prepared to replenish you. Others request to see you in free time when you don’t even have free time.

You open your WhatsApp and you see tens and tens of messages which need to be replied.

Others see you online and assume you are ignoring them when in actual fact you are working on their requests and you can’t afford to reply the massages without having your work and thought pattern getting interrupted.

When you get emotionally depleted, you take some time off so that you can recharge , when you get back to work you are greeted with a dozen to do list which needs your attention and these are issues you can’t delegate.

I have experienced that and I have learned to be strong and remain focused and not lose my plot. If you are in such a space I pray that the LORD will increase your capacity. I pray that the LORD will give you the courage to say “NO” to some of the requests from people.

I pray that you put a monetary value on your time and those with requests of a commercial nature get to pay you. I pray that you will not lose your mind as you work out a way to meet all your demands.

I pray that the LORD will give you the wisdom to sort out your priorities. I pray that the Holy Spirit will become your mentor and teacher. I pray that the LORD will send you people to elevate you to the next season of your life.

Wisdom for Managing Depression during Trying Times

Most people are going through a lot, depression and much more. They don’t have courage to speak out.

Be kind to people and have the courtesy to check on your friends and be there for them when they need you most.

The church in Africa does not value counseling that much. Very few leaders teach on how to handle pressure, depression and other ills of the 21st century. May the LORD grant us the wisdom to deal with our dark sides. Amen

Mastering the Art of Public Speaking

Reduce your message to the level of your audience. Most speakers lose it the moment they want to sound intelligent and knowledgeable.

Let’s say you are a politician addressing a rally, don’t tell the electorate about the GDP, balance of payment and other big economics terms.

What they want is an assurance of their needs. Jobs. Health. Water. Affordable Tax.

For most types of presentations, the simpler the language the greater the impact.

One of my favorite speakers is Dr. John C. Maxwell, he is regarded as one of the foremost authorities on leadership. He has won himself a wider and captive audience because he has this knack of breaking a complex message into simple and understandable language.

Next time you are given an opportunity to speak, labor as much as you can to make your message simple.

Continue Reading


Leadership Ideas Are Borderless: Conversation with Mutumwa Mawere Part 1

Noah Mangwarara



Mr Noah Mangwarara

Noah Mangwarara, 13/01/2021

The leadership conversation between Mutumwa Mawere and Noah Mangwarara was prompted by the quest to answer the question; “WHAT IS A LEADER?”

ln the talks that ensued, a number of thoughts came up and these have been crystallized into a series with one idea explored at a time.

The starting point is that Leadership ideas are borderless since in as much as we are living in a world that has physical borders, no one has a monopoly over knowledge nor ideas.

The one with ideas cannot afford to keep the ideas to themselves. The circulation of ideas has reached levels where trying to harbor them will not help nor address the advancement of the human race.

The leader is the one who realizes that imagination has no borders because the only borders to imagination are the ones you create.

Real influence therefore doesn’t come from the confinement of ideas into your little office, whether it’s corporate, political, social or spiritual since the world is on a constant shift and following after relevant ideas that advance the cause of civilization.

The leader must have ideas that people are looking for and as such, in addition to that, true leadership comes down to empowerment of people to a point where they can readily source ideas circulating in this terrestrial space because positions and titles devoid of ideas won’t make you influential.

ln a world of physical borders, a true leader is not necessarily one with titles, qualifications, positions or a couple of years of earthly existence because age on its own when devoid of sound ideas, it will never take you far even if you have a so called powerful position.

A qualification obtained ages ago will never help anyone unless that knowledge is mixed with modern ideas that address the ills of the world and more-so, a title has never been known for producing answers to questions; ideas do.

It is ideas that rule the world; the leader ought to have their antennas high, eyes open  and ears on the ground to  tap into ideas that are free flowing.

The world is after ideas and not necessarily the person with the traditional sources of power. The one with the position will leave but the ideas will keep flowing.

ldeas are in constant circulation around the world and it is these ideas that rule supreme.

As such, a leader is then the person who applies the ideas at their disposal for the betterment of humanity.

The other topics in the series have been picked up as follows.

1. Ask critical questions

2. They all want to be Presidents; they think a President is a leader

3. Self-Governance- The starting point of great leadership

4. Develop rules of Responsibility

5. Connected for a purpose

6. Experts in talking versus Experts in delivery

7. When great minds meet

8. The mask of Leadership

9. Let reason and logic prevail

10. lf you are passionate, the world will follow

11. Stand out – be Outstanding

12. Learn as you go- be a soldier at heart

Continue Reading


In Search of a Search Understanding of What Is a Leader: Lessons from A Conversation with Mr. Michael Tichareva

Mutumwa Mawere



Mr. Michael Tichareva

Mutumwa Mawere, 11/01/2021

Yesterday my conversation with Mr. Michael Tichareva who I invited to join the WHAT IS A LEADER WhatsApp group was instructive and beneficial in that it brought to the fore some of the issues that characterize the fiction and reality of what a leader is and is not.

It is not such a bad thing for one to see a glass as half full while another may see it as half empty. Ideas and ideals do matter in the affairs of mankind.

A battle of ideas on WHAT IS A LEADER need not invite any vitriol but ought to provoke, inspire and ignite others to introspect and perhaps take a view on their own personal experiences explaining why they would be tempted to attack an idea rather than be part of a generalized and inclusive construction that is aimed at institution and capacity building to resolve problems.

No single individual can solve a problem and the enterprise of building a circle around a person rather than a problem is bad.

What is the problem statement? My view is that although I am connected, for example, to a community of 30,000 people on LinkedIn it is unlikely that in a lifetime, I would ever get an opportunity to interface with them personally.

One such connection is Mr. Nobleman Kani who without my knowledge has been following me.

He is an Executive Director at Amajabhusi Retail Holdings. On Tuesday, last week, he thought of taking the next step to lift himself from the LinkedIn community that we are connected to send the message below:

“Complements of the New Year Mr Mawere; wishing you the best for the year ahead. May you continue inspiring us with your wisdom on a number of Social and Business areas. May you be blessed with Great Health also during these tough times. Regards, Nobleman”

I did not lead Nobleman to think of the idea of saying the above words and actually taking the time to do so. I saw this as one of the consequences of my independent choice to share what I know without expecting a person unknown to me to respond in this manner.

He encourages me to give up personal time to continue inspiring a person like him with wisdom.

Could Nobleman be alone in finding value in what I may choose to say? He could very well be alone. It is always the case that there are others who see evil in what I may choose to share and such people will always take advantage of any opportunity to denigrate me or anyone who steps forward to do something.

It was not unexpected that at 8:47 PM yesterday, the day before my birthday, that Mr. Fred Mutanda chose to inbox me this message: “They want to portray a bad leader. I have told the other guy to back off the platform.”

It is instructive that if I had chosen to stay in my cocoon and say nothing, I would not invite this kind of hatred.

I am grateful to be associated with a person like Mr. Mutanda whose perspective is that leaders must conform to a certain standard. A person like Mr. Mutanda means well. He is saying that the group is mine and no one should even consider taking it away.

Mr. Mutanda who privately started this thread had this advice to me as follows: “Just let it go my brother. You are bigger than that. You can handle it privately. Thank you,”

I am not sure what prompted Mr. Mutanda to advise me to let go yet the very creation of the group is to provoke people like me and him to openly and transparently engage to demonstrate that there exists no shared understanding on what a leader is and is not.

Mr. Mutanda would know that any person who is perceived to be a leader automatically is circled by people who create a wall between him and the so-called led.

It is not unusual for people like Obert Mpofu to be invited into what’s app groups by people who create such groups to improve their visibility and status.

However, when such so-called leaders are included in groups, the reality is that they are often eloquent in the silence.

Silence to me is the greatest betrayal yet some would want me to be bigger than the people I choose to associate with.

Should a leader be a bigger and aloof person? There are people who believe that a leader must be defined by the people he associates with and as such, the person must be aloof.

Yesterday, I received a call from a person in this group who wanted me to add my insights into a manifesto for Africa on what should be a standard that must be met before any person can be eligible for the office of President.

The person is in this group and I told her that this group was created to provoke wider conversations on this question.

While we were talking, I received a call from a former President of an African state who just wanted to wish me compliments of the season.

When I finished the call with the former President, I then called my friend to finish the conversation that we had started.

Notwithstanding the view that I have expressed in this group and elsewhere, she still wanted my insights on a question I really have no answers to.

I then decided to add the former President to the call to give her an opportunity to ask the question that had been directed to me so that he can add his insights based on real life experiences.

It occurred to me that instead of retailing people like the former President, it would be beneficial to accelerate the building of the circle of 100 so that we together can interest others to wish to speak to the question in an organized manner.

At 11:19am, Mr. Kani independently and voluntarily volunteered to follow up his earlier message with the following one: “Mr Maware, is it possible for one to join the C2C Membership Group, Whats up Group or platform for my own development and for networking purposes. i am based in Capetown and my number +27xxxxxx.”

In the above thread, Mr. Kani asks if it is possible to join C2C yet the group that he then joined is comprised of people who have consumed my scarce time arguing that I should stop the initiative to provoke the building of community power around the challenge of no shared understanding on what is a leader or not.

Imagine the world had 10000 of people like Mr. Kani, how would we be in building a reference of what self-government actually means.

Human beings should behave better. I shudder to think what would follow if I chose to follow the good advice by Mr. Mutanda at 8:41PM that: “It happens just leave them especially after the Musariri one.”

How many people are like Musariri who instead of addressing issues would soon divert attention by targeting another person?

I am sure it becomes self-evident that although I am not elected to lead anyone in this voluntary grouping, there are some who genuinely believe that I must exclude myself from associating and start behaving as a leader.

To them, being a leader means one must be superior and bugger than the ordinary person.

Mr. Mutanda had the following to add to this narrative: “I am not worried but concerned that they don’t want to see you doing something good. No one can take this initiative from you. These youngsters just want to put you in bad. I think you should ignore them. That’s my opinion. No my brother controversy is not going to help the platform.”

Surely, who would wish to own and appropriate a voluntary group of persons who choose to learn together?

I have said that I have no intention to be a leader of a WhatsApp but the reality is that the crime of taking any step forward condemns one to be attacked as a leader.

What shall we DO?

Continue Reading