As Niccolò Machiavelli puts it “It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”  South Korea is a perfect example of rule by fear. The population knows they have to “fear and cheer”. Anyone disobeying these rules dies and is as simple as that. Those who cannot “fear and cheer” their leaders must leave the country as death is a guaranteed consequence. Kim Jong Un is a powerful leader in South Korea but outside those bothers is toothless. This principle is mastered in animal kingdom where those who don’t follow the rules are disciplined, killed or expelled.

When Juju was disciplined and subsequently expelled from the ANC, charges and investigations from various state institutions ensued. “If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.” To quote Niccolò again. Judging by the way he shrugged off those charges it looks like the injuries inflicted on him where not severe enough. Coincidentally he managed to rise from those setbacks during the Marikana Massacre. At that time leadership was needed to quell the labour disputes and killings. The place become a no go area for others, accept certain NGO, religious leaders and Juju. These are leaders who left the comfort of their constituency and went to a volatile constituency to lead. Despite his shortcomings Juju goes anywhere in the country where he is both cheered and booed. This includes Marikana where his former political party cannot go.

Certain leaders are hesitant to go to certain commemorations like the Marikana massacre because the constituency does not fear them. They are scared of a constituency that they cannot control and confined to their submissive and fearful rule. The weaknesses and challenges of such leaders is that they view any constituency that is open minded as an enemy or ill-discipline. This is commonly supposed without looking at the basis of the constituency concerns. Take the Anti-Corruption march for example, other organization without naming anyone threatened their members with disciplinary action for marching against corruption. They gauge the march as Anti-ANC or Anti-Government.

As a “Broad church” the ruling party should go anywhere and lead. Leaders should also lead those they cannot subject to their disciplinary machinery. A restrained constituency becomes cheer leaders in fear of being disciplined for their dissimilar views. This is a phenomenon noted in parliament where everything said by certain leaders gets a standing ovation and later found wanting in the court of law. In an open society you cannot command without listening and compromising. To quote Niccolò Machiavelli again “He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command”.  When commands are alfa and omega, people become fearful and naturally move away from fear when they have an alternative. This is how mass ordinary members defect quietly to other parties or organizations in an open society.

The command style of leadership works well in the army because unless you are in leadership your views does not matter. Just do as you are told. During service delivery protest peaceful or not, police are sent first to deal with the people’s grievances. Policy are in service delivery protests to restore “ORDER” and have nothing to do with the protesters grievances. They are often met with resistance. As a results life ammunition and rubber bullets are fired. Public property gets ruined in the fracas and ultimately the fundamental grievances remain unattended to. The councillors and relevant political leaders run away from engaging their constituency because they cannot deal with “anarchist”. The only state functionary left to deal with the protests is the SAPS. Is easy to be led by fear than to lead people you fear. I have seen leaders addressing their constituencies from the back of a police van in a safe distance. This happens when leaders have lost control and fear their constituency for whatever reasons.

Public protest without leaders in control of the protest regularly results in mayhem. Leaders can emerge anywhere and be respected by the people. The challenge we have with service delivery protest is that most of the time they are not led. Those that are led, the leaders are sometimes ignored when the police commands them to disperse.

When Barack Obama addressed the Nelson Mandela memorial service everybody listened and were amazed by his oratory speech. He was addressing a different constituency that wanted to hear him and they cheered. This is contrary to our president because the addressees did not want to hear him and they booed. We have seen constitutionally elected president, councillors etc., being rejected by neutral constituencies. This shows that legitimacy does not guarantee an attentive audience but integrity and trust in the eyes of your audience does. True Leaders like Mandela, Beyer’s Naude, Bram Fischer etc., transcended their race constituency and formed a constituency based on principled stance and succeeded.

By Sivodlo Silombo

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