Who says cultures don’t change? It may not be a quick process, but while the globe is awash with media coverage of the Arab Spring, another quiet cultural shift is occurring out of limelight. Botswana is beginning to toy with the notion of “elected” presidents rather than “president-for-life.”
Quiet though this might be, the shift is equally profound: from entitled leadership to earned leadership. It’s the subtle shift that redefines the responsibility and expectations of leadership – the concept that leadership has a responsibility to the populace rather than the populace needing to have allegiance to leadership. According to an article in the Botswana Gazette:
A study by Afrobarometer, an African institution that measures public attitudes towards democracy, says only 39% of the people in Botswana want the present system of electing the president indirectly retained, compared to 60% in 2008.
Why this change in perspective? The Gazette speculates it may be due to the fact that people have become more educated since 2008, and that this change would also mean placing measured limits on the president’s power, mitigating political abuse.
In any case, the cultural shift is of key importance: from leaders being chosen by a few, and demanding respect from the many, to leaders being chosen by the masses and thus needing to earn respect and admiration in advance. This is indeed a major conceptual shift, which indicates a certain shift in cultural values. The next question is: do you think this might actually happen, and if so, when?