Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda has reiterated that leadership is a “love affair” where a leader falls in love with the people and the people fall in love with the leader.
Banda said this when she delivered the 4th John Evans Atta Mills Commemorative Lecture on Monday, July 25, 2016 at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Main Auditorium in Ghana.
“It is an emotional phenomenon founded and built on mutuality, common good and shared vision between the leader and the people. Leaders appeal to the people they lead and the people appeal to the emotions of the leader,” said Banda.
This year’s lecture was themed, ‘John Evans Atta Mills: the Servant Leader’.
The former Head of State told an audience that included students, lecturers, politicians, traditional and religious leaders and politicians, among others, that her understanding and definition of leadership hinge on the principle and realization that power and authority are exercised “at the pleasure of those that put us in positions of authority”.
She said this understanding of leadership emanates from her conviction that leadership is about the realization, acceptance and respecting the fact that, as leaders, “we are where we are because people put us there so that we can serve them”.
“Therefore, as a leader, one must have the integrity and strength of character to put the needs and concerns of others ahead of your own. The welfare of the people that gave you the mandate to exercise power over them prevails and becomes your guiding principle and driving force.
“One must be selfless in their desire to ensure the success of others, fearless in their zeal to protect the dignity of others, and relentless in their defence of the rights of the people,” she said.
Banda hailed the late Professor Atta Mills as “selfless and an embodiment of dedication to public service and to the people of Ghana”. She noted that the late Professor lived a humble life of community; a life of love, and that he was not only the son of Ghana but a citizen of the world who gave his life to the development of education as demonstrated by his contribution to the academia all over the world.
“His contribution to intellectual development is remarkable. During 30 years of teaching and researching, Professor Mills served as a visiting lecturer and professor at a number of educational institutions worldwide and presented research papers at symposiums and conferences throughout the world.
“Even in death, he still remains a very large classroom and an oasis of knowledge where we can all draw from to better our own lives. He is still a sunbeam to help us light our future socio-political and economic trajectories,” she said.
The former President also noted that Prof. Atta-Mills was a man of peace and that it is not surprising, therefore, that the people of Ghana, called him ‘Asomdwee Hen’ meaning ‘the Prince of Peace’.
“I am reliably informed that this is one of the highest honours to be conferred upon an African leader by his people. Prof. Atta-Mills simply loved his people and he did everything humanly possible to give his people peace for a simple reason that he knew that peace is one priceless gift that God gave us.
“His inclusivity policies contributed to unity, integration and stability of not only Ghana but also the ECOWAS region and Africa as a whole,” she said.
Dr. Banda hailed Prof. Atta Mills for his determination to the fight against corruption. She said the Professor detested corruption and was committed and determined to rid Ghana of the vice.
“His zeal and determination to fight the vice despite the dangers associated with the fight against corruption made him a source of inspiration and motivation to you and I that it is possible to fight and eradicate corruption,” said Malawi former president.
About Prof Mills
Professor Mills was born at Tarkwa on July 21, 1944 and was educated at Achimota School and the University of Ghana, Legon.
He earned a Ph.D. in Law at the age of 27 from the London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies after completing his doctoral thesis in the area of taxation and economic development.
He then had a long stint teaching at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana before becoming the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.
Mills was Vice-President from 1997 to 2001, under the administration of Jerry John Rawlings.
He won the 2008 presidential elections on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), defeating the New Patriotic Party’s candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a run-off.
President Mills died at the 37 Military Hospital on July 24, 2012.
JB Ghana tour
The former President and Retired Chief Justice Richard Banda, SC, arrived in Ghana on Saturday evening and were met at Kotoko International Airport by Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Hanna Tetteh, and other high-level Ghanaian government officials.
Banda and Ghana’s President, John Dramani Mahama, on Monday morning, July 25, 2016, officially commissioned the ‘John Evans Atta Mills Presidential Library’ built near the Chapel Square in Cape Coast.
On Sunday, July 24, she laid a wreathat the tomb of Professor John Evans Atta Millsat the Asomdwee Park in the capital, Accra.Foreign Affairs Minister, Tetteh, was among high-profile government officials who graced the ceremony. Atta Mills widow Naadu Mills also laid her wreath.
Banda later attended a church service at Action Chapel International in Accra. She and Retired Chief Justice Richard Banda were special guests of Archbishop Nicholas Duncan Williams, Founder of Action Chapel International.
She later travelled about 200 KMs to Cape Coast, Central Region, where the memorial service for the Commemorative Lecture. On arrival, Dr. Joyce Banda paid a courtesy call on Paramount Chief Ogua Oman Hene at his official Emintsimadze Palace in Cape Coast.
Banda hailed Ghanaians for maintaining their culture and traditions. She said she highly regarded chiefs as custodians of culture and traditions and that as such she could not have stayed in Cape Coast without paying a courtesy call on the Paramount Chief.
The Paramount Chief hailed Dr. Joyce Banda for her respect for tradition and traditional leadership. He said Africa would be a better place to live in if political leaders respected traditional leaders who directly deal with the people at grassroots level.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :