Just desire

It does not need educational qualifications to run a town.

People might say Africans were savages for millennia before Europeans came around. But one thing is that Africans had run their villages more effectively in those millennia than they are doing today with their towns.

When modern African towns and cities are burgeoning with filthy shacks and vermin-infested slums, which are breeding grounds for crime and disease, and which make the towns unable to feed and provide adequate important services to the people such as water, electricity and sanitation, let alone food, then it means that these towns are not better off than the villages of the olden days.

Missionaries and the colonialists did not – in their diaries and journals – record or make any references to a dirty village when they made their first contacts with Africa.

This tells you that if today’s towns are dirty and unable to dispose of their garbage in an effective and environmentally sensitive manner, then you do know that this filth is not a consequence of your lack of education or technology.

Cleaning up the town does not need qualifications. A clean place, this is the first sign of development. Development is not just high-rise buildings, which too often are built with borrowed money or the buildings belong to foreign nationals.

Development and an ascending civilization mean that people live in a decent place. Cleaning the place where people live and where they work, maintaining the towns and neighbourhoods and make them beautiful, it does not need qualifications or money. It needs desire.

Qualifications are only an advantage. When we talk of local government still we are talking of politics. Politics does not need qualifications. It only needs qualification in leadership. It’s because the politicians of today, and those of the past, don’t have the qualifications in leadership that the towns in this state of decay.

And qualification in politics is nothing else but passion, enthusiasm, and desire for public service. When it comes to running the towns, personal ambition is not what drives the person. The person is driven by the desire to serve the residents of the town to the best of his ability. And no one can possibly estimate the ability of a man or woman driven by passion for public service.

Universities since time immemorial have always tried to incorporate politics into their faculties as a discipline for studying and getting paper qualifications in. But the reality is that those qualifications never have any impact on the manner in which society goes forward. If a society is going forward or going backward as a result of its politics it all has nothing to do with the matter of educational qualifications.

Indeed even a bucketful of PhDs in a slum area will not be able to transform the slum and turn it into a leafy suburb. In fact anyone who acquires a PhD, he soon enough feels out of place living in a slum. It’s because education has no impact whatsoever to the political situation of a community or society.

When a community or country is poor, it’s not a result of nature, the absence of education, or lack of resources but it’s a result of its politics. You can have educated politicians and individuals with PhDs; but such education will be of little use to society if there is no passion, enthusiasm, and desire for public service.

Education does not provide leadership. Where there is leadership, where there is good and successful politics, a community, town or society will get ahead politically, socially and economically whether there is education, resources, or no education and no resources.

Successful politics is desire – desire to serve. There is only one thing that can make you do the job at local government – it is desire. That is if you desire to serve humanity, if you desire to contribute to the development of your town for the benefit of the people who live there.

You can go attend workshop trainings or do courses in local government, but if you don’t have the desire to serve, then there is no way that you can do anything meaningful or worthwhile for your town. Higher education can’t make you do a good job at local government if there is no desire.

Just training and skills development is not enough; there are many people who are properly trained and highly skilled, but who can’t do a good job anywhere in the government because they don’t have the desire for public service.

Where there is desire, there can’t be corruption, negligence, abuse of public property, and other malpractices that are shamefully endemic in the public service.

The misuse of government vehicles, government houses turned into virtual motels, public buildings falling apart due to neglect, filth and squalor as a result of little effort at garbage disposal and all the many other things that are a result of not lack of education and training but lack of desire are common at local government.

When there is desire there can’t be laziness. Where there is desire ignorance cannot be.

[Lifted from Victor Angula’s unpublished book: “How to Do the Job at Local Government”]