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One notices the adjunct shrink in spaces for the youth in leadership positions.

What brings this to mind is the fact of the bounce phenomenon we saw last week. I am going to devote this week’s article to the leadership recycling mentality that seems to have bogged us as a country. I will devote this article on the impact of a lack of ideas on economic growth and the impact of the absence of x-efficiency on progress.

New CBE governor

Allow me to begin by congratulating Philemon Mnisi (PhD) on his appointment as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE), it is a well-deserved appointment and we appreciate a fresh face, one who has been an outsider in the political space. An astute CEO with an outstanding track record at Standard Bank Eswatini and recently with the Eswatini Sugar Association. It is my belief that the CBE is in good stewardship under the leadership of Dr Mnisi. I trust that you will continue protecting the currency as your predecessor endeavoured, we have always had, on average, three-month import cover worth of reserves, which is critical in protecting the peg between the Rand and Lilangeni; inflation was kept low due to decisive and accommodative monetary policy. Furthermore, we saw a very accommodative monetary policy stance that assisted the nation absorb shocks related to the COVID-19 stance.

Personally, am confident in the new governor. The fact that he has been outside the central banking system, for over six years when he was deputy governor, provides a good blend of technical know-how on the bank’s operations and also the experience amassed from private sector is a plus for the bank and the economy, and that is my honest opinion. The bank will benefit from Mnisi’s management acumen, thus improvements in managerial efficiency (x-efficiency), which is a critical enabler to growth.

Recycled senators

The country has a relatively young population, yet the current leadership does not at all embody the population structure. One then asks, who makes the decisions for the majority of the people, viz the youth. Is there any value in the recycling of leadership? Or we simply lack faith in our people? Or the current leadership arrangement does not allow for the grooming of new political leaders? I honestly fear that if the current leadership does not groom the young then we have no future as a nation. We need to create spaces for our youth and women to get into leadership positions so as to drive the growth of the nation and ensure a bright future driven by the youth. I understand there is often a tendency to look back into the past to find a leader with experience to lead us out of a crisis, but this tends to do very little for x-efficiency and innovation.

Yes, at times it is difficult to teach an old dog some new tricks, but one then wonders, if we recycle our politicians, are they going to be in a position to make decisions and design laws that are meant to guide the nation through the information age, and does the 4th industrial revolution even resonate with them? Do they even see value in current issues that are pertinent in the 21st century? Are they not becoming the bottlenecks to progress in the Legislature? Experience is critical, but I worry if it is experience we need or we need new ideas?

Current legislative arrangement

My concerns are further propelled by the current legislative framework or arrangement. Our senators do not have the support of fully-fledged offices which would allow them to hire political advisors, economic advisors and all other forms of advisors critical to holding public office and deliver effectively to one’s mandate. One, therefore, questions the value that the recycling of the senators will add on the decision making acumen and the ability of the Senate to guide the nation through this very difficult period. Yes we need seasoned leaders but they need to provide responsive solutions to emerging current issues. Allowing new ideas would help us overcome the bottlenecks brought about by the current legislative arrangement.

Sadly our political space is such that we need to have faith in the person; there are no institutional arrangements in place to assist the person deliver. Hence I do not have confidence in the recycled senators to make the right decisions for this economy. They have had their turn and under their tenures we saw a stagnating economy; the SODV Act stayed in chambers for over two terms. I do not have faith none whatsoever, we need young minds.

Opening political spaces for youth

We need to attempt, as a country, to open up spaces for our youth to get into leadership and political positions. This will ensure that we also shift our decision making processes and we might eventually start making economic policies that are responsive to the needs of the majority and, in this case, it is the youth. Progress requires new and relevant ideas, and maybe if we are caught up with the times we might circumvent our stagnation loop as an economy.

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