My Country’s President is Better than Your Country’s President

The Sierra Leonian Deputy Minister of Information on Rwanda:

Notwithstanding, the Deputy Minister is positive that Sierra Leone now has what it takes to match Rwanda’s record and even overtake it: “The age-old problem of Sierra Leone was that of leadership. But by all indications, we now have a committed and development-oriented leadership in President Ernest Bai Koroma. You can see that his style of leadership bears the marks of President Kagame’s, and it’s no wonder that the former Prime Minister of Britain Tony Blair has openly said the two Presidents are the best in Africa. However, I am very optimistic that Sierra Leone will overtake Rwanda under President Koroma’s leadership.”

Watch out Rwanda, here Sierra Leone comes. While leadership is key to re-constructing a legitimate and effective post-conflict government, the structural dynamics of the country and the political landscape matter much more than one figurehead. Moreover, Paul Kagame is a brutally effective leader, but his success is largely a function of the deep and cohesive RPF apparatus he has constructed. Fetishizing leadership misses the larger picture of political and economic development in post-conflict countries, but it does facilitate absurd ministerial challenges towards who will win the future.

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