Malawi’s former President, Joyce Banda says she believes that leaders must be servants of the people because power is with the people and that power is based on the trust vested upon the leader by the people.
“There are two types of leaders—servant leader and authoritarian leader. These two types of leaders look at power differently. The servant leader is inspired and motivated by the people they serve because they realize that power is with the people.
“The authoritarian leader uses authority to exert power upon the people. Whether the people consent to that pressure or not, it does not matter much as long as his or her ambitions and desires are met. It is a well-known fact that this type of leadership is not sustainable. Anybody who ignores the wind of change is doing so at their own peril,” she said.
Banda was presenting a keynote address at this year’s Women in Parliaments (WIP) at the African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopiaon Tuesday, March 24. Her Keynote Address centred on the theme ‘End of Power? Re-defining Leadership’.
‘New Leadership for Global Challenges’ is the theme of the WIP Summit 2015, co-hosted by the African Union and co-financed by the European Commission.
It focuses on new leadership for change; on the need for variety of different leaders, men and women, that are willing to work together, and share insights and innovations on how best to deal with the global challenges of today and navigate the future.
Said Banda: “On my journey of public life, I have seen that most women leaders are servant leaders. They assume leadership to serve people first and not seek to be served first. Women by nature are born leaders as in most cases they seek to serve starting from the home through all levels—in communities, private sector, Parliament, cabinet and even at Presidential level. Their services are transformational”.
She thanked the African Union, the European Union and Women in Parliament for hosting the forum “at this critical moment in our history”.
“This summit is taking place at a time when the African Union and her people are working towards vision 2063 where we seek to realise a peaceful, integrated and prosperous continent. Furthermore, the African Union has declared this year as a ‘year of women”.
“As we take stock of Beijing Platform for Action this year, it is my hope that our discussions will take cognisance that we have not achieved Millennium Development Goals 3 that promotes gender equality and empower women and 5 which improves maternal health.
She said it was therefore important that the outcomes of the Summit influence and feed into the Post 2015 and the Post Beijing +20 processes.
Former President Banda said Beijing was the beginning of shifting of power from traditional patriarchal hands to a new generation of leaders. She said power in the hands of women meant power in the hands of the masses; meant better life for everybody, better human rights and better governance.
She noted that the participation of women and women leadership is becoming critical as women constitute more than half of the world’s population.
However, Banda noted that despite the growing number of women into leadership roles in different disciplines, most leadership positions are still occupied and therefore defined by men.
“As a woman leader, 20 years after Beijing, I have learnt that from the beginning we should have engaged men at discussion level. The challenge is that since men were not initially engaged at the beginning, it has been difficult to secure their support in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action in advancing women’s leadership and in closing the gender gap.
“My experience in following women leaders who have made it to Parliament, to Cabinet and even to State House has revealed that most of them have characteristics of a servant leader. They emerged from the women’s movement,” said Malawi’s first female Head of State.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :