National Times (Washington) – If there is one mark or sing of bad leaders in Africa is that they all seek special treatment. They want people to hold umbrellas for them. They ask for red carpets. They sit on fancy chairs. They wear expensive clothes. They ride special cars with special number plates. Even in the house of god where everyone should be treated as equals, they still ask and receive special treatments.
Cameroonians know this too well. President Biya receives medical treatment abroad while majority of Cameroonians are rushed to domestic hospitals in terrible states. His seat often on gold while others sit on rusted or wooden seats. When he leaves the country, all roads are closed as his convoy rush to the airport. When he visits a town there is always a fanfare, things are rearranged to accommodate the special one. And we all know that he is one of the worst leaders, in terms of the economic and social development of Cameroon, we have ever had.
His Ministers are the same. They come to meetings late. Their seats are different from others. They want people to bow down to them. They thing they are above the law.
The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu famously said “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves”.
So why are we embracing Anglophones, Bulu and Bamileke opposition leaders who are also showing sings that when they get to power they will want special treatments. They are seeking special attention while in opposition. Look at Sissiku, he was appointed as leader of the Separatist anglophones, immediately he started driving in expensive cars, wearing expensive watches and even walking with bodyguards.
I recently saw a picture of someone holding an umbrella for Sako Samuel. And Ayaba Cho had his followers standing by his car and offering him special greetings. The point is not whether these leaders asked for these services or not. That their supporters took pictures of these as evidence of their leadership and capacity is a bad omen. Leaders who seek or are shown receiving special treatments always end up being terrible leaders, at least in Cameroon.
As Brian Tracy said, we should be looking for the “kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if they had no title or position”.
It is true that Anthropological studies have shown that most developed societies like Cameroon have different techniques to display power and wealth, from techniques used in administration or production. In Cameroon where power and wealth rest in the hands of the politicians, we should discourage this open attention or special treatment seeking. I can tell you something, All leaders who seek for special treatment are bad leaders.