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Leadership A Philosophical Exploration of Perspectives in Africa, Caribbean, and Diaspora Polities

John Ayotunde Isola Bewaji


This essay is aimed at provoking dialogue on the often neglected aspect of the African and Diaspora academics philosophical reflective obligation to each other, to their contemporary societies and to posterity - leadership. I question the notion of leadership as is prevalent in the discourse of contemporary developing societies of Africa and its Diaspora, whereby anyone who assumes power or attains prominence is described as leader. I argue that, especially in these societies, there is a disconnection between the governed population and the leadership, which is a consequence of a dysfunctional leadership metaphysic, epistemology and psychology. I prefer to delineate leadership from rulership, to separate de facto Africa and Diaspora realities from de jure (Cf. Burns 1978: 2). This is because leadership, as I understand the concept, is a normative concept to which rulership is not necessarily a synonym. Thus, Western media and their satellite appendages Africa and Diaspora media references to leaders is often uninformed, at the most charitable, and mischievous, in plain language.

I propose to do three things in this essay: first, to highlight the leadership issue as a problem in Africa, Caribbean and Diaspora polities; second, to dilate on the different origins, causes, effects and implications of the problem in these societies, and third, to indicate why I think a philosophical approach to the analysis of the problem will help find solutions to the problem, especially by indicating what criteria will have to be met for the development of an adequate Third World sensitive theory of leadership.

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Journal on African Philosophy. ISSN: 1533-1067 (online).
Editor: Olufemi Taiwo.

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