FOUR KINDS OF POLITICIANS
By Dr Fred Mutesa
1. OPPORTUNISTS – very common species. They are very good at reading opportunities. Ngati vapwalala, they will quickly jump in and fill the void. Because they are driven by self-interest, they can’t spearhead national development. If any progress is registered during their tenure it is a mere coincidence that is instrumental to achieving their own goals.
2. REALISTS- this type is driven by an ideology that says, “that’s just how things are.” They believe society functions according to a certain logic which defines human behaviour. They believe the rational thing to do is to flow with the tide. Like the opportunists, the realist is often driven by self-interest. Any development posted under the rule of realists is subject to existence of “favourable circumstances.” They will do very little to remove structural and systemic barriers, because that is just how things are
3. NAIVE IDEALISTS- driven by lofty ideals, but with a very minimal understanding of how to overcome systemic and structural barriers that hinder development. They are often driven by either religious or ideological convictions. In office, naive idealists will strive to implement their utopia, but are often sabotaged by vested interests.
4. PATRIOTS- A very rare species, often combining love of country with passion to undo inequalities and injustices that shackle society from advancing to its full potential. What distinguishes a patriot from a mere naive idealist, is their willingness to sacrifice their personal comfort for the common good. Many patriots lose their lives in the line of duty because they are perceived as a threat to entrenched interests that feed-off the poverty of the masses.
CONCLUSION -all the four categories referred to above are ideal types. In practice, many politicians exhibit a combination of more than one trait, with varying degrees of emphasis. Metamorphosis is also possible, where one starts off with a particular dominant trait, and along the way acquires other characteristics. Unfortunately, the transition is mostly regressive. Of the four, opportunists and realists, tend to be the most harmful to the agenda of nation-building and development. They will stoop to any low to satisfy their ambitions, even the most despicable acts of wickedness.