I am among those who dispute some of the propositions by the originator of the concept of natural selection, Charles Darwin. However, I love one of the statements he made on issues of managing change. Darwin once hinted: "It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones who are most responsive to change."
I support this view because the world is changing and we need to keep on changing. Surely, The Twister of 1990 is not the Twister of 2000 and neither is he the Twister of 2011. So many things have changed including my lifestyle. While in the past I took pleasure in writing about my own romantic episodes including the one which saw my beautiful wife pacifying two high school girls who were fighting each other near my house, not knowing that the two lasses were actually fighting for me, I no longer take pleasure in recounting those incidents. I find them inappropriate episodes because I do not want my daughter who is at the university and my son who is in high school to be reading about my scandals of yore.
Since as human beings, we are changing and everything else in our environment is changing, Darwin was spot on when he said that it is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones that are most responsive to change.
Issues of change are very crucial amongst leaders because most of the time they spend their time managing change which involves managing people, systems, resources and interests for the greater good of the organisation or even the nation as they forge ahead amidst various challenges and threats.
The paradox of life is that while everything else changes, people simply like others and systems to change while they remain the same. Just imagine recently, MCP president John Tembo was all over the place condemning President Bingu wa Mutharika, labelling him a dictator for expelling Vice President Joyce Banda from DPP and excluding her from his cabinet. People were clapping hands for Tembo's boldness to denounce Bingu's alleged dictatorial tendencies. The veteran politician urged Mutharika to adhere to tenets of democracy.
But just a few days later, the same Tembo, who had labelled Mutharika a dictator, faced with the similar situation, did the same thing. His party expelled its Secretary General Chris Daza because of his (Daza's) mere statement that he will gun for MCP presidency in the run up to 2014 polls. Going by their despotic track records, I am not sure who deserves to be crowned the worst dictator between Bingu and Tembo and who should label each other dictator.
The point I am illustrating is that we are excited to press for change when that change affects others, while as individuals, we resist change. There is bad news for dictators who resist change. The bad news is from Iran's Ambassador to Oman Hossein Noushabadi who says the 21st century will witness the fall of dictators all over the world.
"The second decade of the 21st century is to witness the end of the lives of the world's dictators," Noushabadi was quoted by the media recently.
The diplomat told the international media that the fall of the dominos began with the ouster of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and continued with the removal of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's ousted dictator. The Iranian envoy explained that this movement will continue with Ali Abdullah Saleh's escape from Yemen.
Unfortunately, when dictators are intoxicated with power and wallowing with in wealth whose sources they can't explain, their ears become deaf and eyes turn blind. Nobody can preach to them about the need to embrace political change.
In management and leadership studies, there are numerous theories explaining why people oppose change. Simply put, people are creatures of habit, who naturally incline to fit themselves into a set routine. This perhaps explains why most dictators if they had their way would have loved to die while in power; or alternatively hand over the mantle of power to their wives, brothers and cousins while on their death bed.
It is claimed Egyptian ousted leader Hosni Mubarak had a political blueprint in which he planned to hand over power to his son, Gamal, while late Muammar Gaddafi wanted to be succeeded by his son, Saif.
Today, Mubarak, Ben Ali, Laurent Gbagbo and late Gaddafi are out of power facing the music because of their failure to manage and accept change as dictated by the democratic wishes of their people. Their bothers and children are also in a huge mess because of their entry into politics through the window of bloody kinship instead of using the open door of democracy, choice and fair competition.
Unfortunately, dictators never learn the mistakes of their peers. When one dictator with his relations is being ousted by angry citizens through mass protests, another dictator in his myopia assumes that his military and police can prevent regime change. I assume those assumptions emanate from a mental disease called malignant narcissism. This chronic ailment offers dictators false hopes of survival from the strong winds of change. Gaddafi, Mubarak, Ben Ali, Gbagbo are all being haunted because of malignant narcissism, which prevented them from accepting change.
It's my prayer that various leaders in our nation will learn to accept change and benefit from it. Long live Malawi, long live democracy.
David and Goliath
Let's turn to the Bible and get some words of inspiration as simplified for us by experts from the Garden of Praise. Never mind who they are. Here we go.
Goliath was a nine-foot-tall soldier from Gath. He bragged that he could beat any Israelite soldier who would fight him. And all the Israelite soldiers were afraid to fight him.
David was a young shepherd boy who believed in God. He said, "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." David took his sling and five smooth stones from the brook. Then he went to fight Goliath.
King Saul wanted to put his heavy armour and helmet on David. He also tried to give David a big sword, but David said he could not wear them. He knew that his strength and protection came from God.
Goliath cursed the boy coming out to fight him. David said to the Philistine: "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied."
David threw a stone with his sling at Goliath. It hit Goliath in the forehead and the giant fell face down. Without a sword in his hand he struck down the giant and killed him.
David believed in God, and God helped him win over the giant.
The giant fell when the stone hit him. Then David used the giant's own sword to kill him.
What's The Twister's message? When you are in a crisis whilst doing good work, serving God and the public, never be intimidated by Goliath's physique because of his frightening amour and boisterous threats. Mercenaries, moles and betrayers will be working against you but never get moved because you can still defeat Goliath with a sling and a smooth stone from the brook.