Referencing her own 20-year political journey and her much longer Christian faith, former minister Olivia N. Muchena presents “Next Generation African Political Leaders: The Power of Preparation” – a manual for aspiring politicians in Africa.
The book is a response to uniquely African challenges encountered when entering politics without training in leadership, politics and governance. Simultaneously, it counters commonly held perceptions of politics as a violent, evil and dirty game unsuitable for Christians and otherwise decent citizens.
Thus, it seeks to equip future political leaders while it awakens political ambition in masses of others. In her own words:
“I share the need for deliberate, intentional preparation for participation and service in politics and government particularly at leadership levels.
“ I also share a personal conviction, as a born-again believer, that it is desirable, imperative and possible for Christians to be salt and light in politics and government.
“Christians and non-Christians alike must be equipped and empowered with basic knowledge, values and skills of the practicalities of politics. This will help them to avoid dangers borne out of zeal without knowledge.
“Speaking from personal experience, I can confirm that in politics, people do perish because of lack of knowledge.”
This book is intended to be a handbook providing an accessible concise reference to the practicalities of public office, life, and leadership. It is short and easy to understand as an illustrated work of simple English prose.
Infographics are used throughout to ease the learning process. However, it is also designed to be sobering in the soul searching it provokes.
Readers will do well to let each message sink in over multiple sittings. Every chapter begins with a gripping behind-the-scenes anecdote of the author’s specific experiences.
These revealing snippets of private moments in the author’s political life fittingly introduce topics that will have to be navigated by future politicians.
So, in a way, Muchena lets you into her personal space and opens your mind to your own. Chapters end with questions for reflection and discussion.
“Next Generation African Political Leaders: The Power of Preparation” groups its chapters into 4 distinct sections
PART I: FOUNDATIONS FOR POLITICAL AND GOVERNMENTAL LEADERSHIP IN AN AFRICAN CONTEXT Provides a historical, social and cultural analysis of how political leadership is commonly understood by the multiple generations of Africans alive today.
2. PART II: KNOW THE GAME OF POLITICS Looks at politics as a sport with written and unwritten rules for players and teams competing to succeed.
3. PART III: PRACTICALITIES, COSTS AND BENEFITS OF PUBLIC OFFICE Forces the aspiring politician to visualise the impact of the occupation on their health, family, bank account and general well-being among other considerations.
4. PART IV: REFLECTIONS Bequeaths wisdom of lessons learnt by Muchena and hands over clarity of perspective on the “so many contradictions, challenges and frustrations that confront African nations, and the continent” in line with the African Union Agenda 2063 aspirations.
After all is said and done, “Next Generation African Political Leaders: The Power of Preparation” is a book that gives understanding to every reader: citizen, supporter, agitator and politician alike – even for those who pastor politicians.
But greater still is its necessity for Africa’s future political leaders. To them the book is dedicated.
They better begin preparing, because Africa cannot afford another generation of politicians doing trial-and-error on-thejob-training.
About The Author Olivia Muchena’s experience spans over 40 years in academia, NGO sector activism, politics and government.
Between 1995 and 2015 she held various portfolios including Deputy Minister of Agriculture; Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office for Land Reform and Resettlement Program; Minister of Science and Technology Development; Minister of Women Affairs Gender and Community Development; and Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development.
Simultaneously she also held political party leadership positions in ZANU PF including Politburo Secretary for Science and Technology before being expelled in 2015 during party factional struggles.
Before entering politics in 1995, Dr. Muchena was a respected academic with extensive research and consultancy experience. She worked with many organisations, notably the Young Women’s Christian Association, Scripture Union, the World Council of Churches Central Committee and World Vision International Board, merging her faith and experience to empower people.
In recent years Dr. Muchena has been working with the International Leadership Foundation as Vice Chair of the Africa Board and as facilitator and coach in transformational leadership.
She is passionate about equipping young people, women and professionals, particularly Christians, for leadership in politics and governance with integrity.
“Next Generation African Political Leaders: The Power of Preparation” is available in bookshops or online at: www.africanpolitiks101.org #africanpolitiks101