WHAT WEBSITES SAY ABOUT LEADERS – OBAMA, MUSEVENI AND KAGAME

This brief piece was prompted by a reader who pointed out that we can learn about leadership styles by looking at the websites of different heads of state. To my utter amusement, I┬álearnt a lot about leadership styles from such a source – I chose to look at 3 presidential websites, namely USA, Uganda and Rwanda.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA STYLE

The White House
http://www.whitehouse.gov/

Immediately when you land on the White House website, you learn that President Obama is a communication leader determined to get his message by mobilising citizens on key issues of the day. This is confirmed by the main landing headings on the White House Website that are organised in the following order:

* Blog
* Photos & video
* Briefing Room
* Issues

President Obama comes across in the White House website as a listening, participating, engaging and engaged leader that also learns in the process. Obama’s body language in the images of the website paint a leader with his teams that reflect confidence, self awareness, and capabilities for implementing the President’s agenda and maximising his impact nationally. The “blog,” “photos & video,” “briefing room” and “issues” focus on President Obama’s priorities and progress at execution.

PRESIDENT YOWERI MUSEVENI STYLE

Office of the President of Uganda
http://www.officeofthepresident.go.ug/

The main headings on the website of the President of Uganda are as follows:

* Background
* Mandate
* Functions
* Tenders

This listing suggests an insecure, defensive, and micro-manager leadership style is the sense of belabouring issues already known. Surely Ugandans know the mandates and functions of the presidency. And embarrassingly, why “the tenders” on the front-page of a presidential website? Here we see confusion of terms “leadership” and “management” – while complementary, leadership inspires while management executes. The thought of Museveni engaged in tendering projects is hilarious! Hahahahaha!

PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME STYLE

REPUBLIC OF RWANDA – Office of the President
http://www.presidency.gov.rw/home

When you land on the website of Rwanda’s Office of the president, you are greeted by the following sentence: “RPF top priority is the interests of Rwandans.” The top four headings of the website are:

* News: it is all about Kagame;
* Profile: it is all about Kagame;
* Speeches: it is all about Kagame;
* Archives: it is all about Kagame.

Here we see a self-centred, non-listening and dictatorial leadership style. There is little else on this website other than the leader himself. It is as simple as that – the institution of the presidency is Kagame the man.

Most shocking, however, we see total confusion of party and state – the dividing lines between state and ruling party has disappeared in Kagame’s Rwanda. This makes mockery of “democracy” if such a thing was ever contemplated let alone attempted during Kagame’s reign.

The presence of a party slogan on government property reveals something unique about Rwanda. The merger of the ruling party and state now permeates the entire Rwandan state and society. And it is centred on the person of Paul Kagame. The fact that it is illegal and unheard of in much of the rest of world for a ruling party slogan to appear on public property that is owned by all citizens, including non-party members, does not occur to Kagame. This gentleman is unaware or rather he does not care that the letter and spirit of the constitution requires that he becomes NON-PARTISAN. In his mind, President Paul Kagame is NO LONGER an elected president but an emperor. Those who don’t like his self-centred style may jump into the nearest lake.

David Himbara

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