The “change from within, rather than from outside” narrative/advice, about organisational change, is false. It’s impossible.

Those who hold the view or conviction and hence dish out the advice that “it’s better to join and work to change a group, system or organisation from within, than from outside” ignore or are ignorant of the group internal dynamics.

No one joins a group, a system or organisation with the sole purpose and intention to change it from within, to change its internal dynamics, be it power and operational dynamics. This is because people join groups, systems or organisation as individuals, and therefore with [almost] no power or influence over the group, system or organisation.

People or some people, perhaps, may indeed, hold the belief that “it’s possible and therefore better to join and work to change a group, system or organisation from within, than from outside” and therefore, want and work hard to join a group, system or organisation harbouring the intention to effect change they desire rather from within – inside – the group or system, by influencing the group’s, system’s or organisation’s internal operational dynamics.

But, what happens once they join, is that they quickly realise and learn how hard, complicated and certainly, to a great extent, complex it is working within – inside – the group, system or organisational environment – navigating the internal dynamics. If they are brave enough and try to push for change, to effect any change that’s not sanctioned by the group, system or organisational internal dynamics, they are consciously and systematically frustrated.

So, foremost, for purposes of their sanity, they try to adjust to the internal workings and dynamics of a group, system or organisation. To keep around, they get or willingly accept to be co-opted and therefore their intention and/or initial mission subsequently compromised.

This is why it is difficult, almost impossible, to change a group, system or organisation from within, that is, by working from inside, and therefore why I believe the common advice that “it’s better to join and work to change a group, system or organisation from within, than from outside” is not only wrong but grossly misleading.

To change a group, system or organisation and its dynamics from within, as an individual, if that’s the intention, requires cooperation, coalition with/from other individuals within the group, system or organisation.

Although this is operationally plausible, it also has the possibility of creating competing groups and interests within, hence making the desired change impossible to achieve but also possibly further fragmenting the group, system or organisation.

To change a group, system or organisation requires usurpation, where usurpation is the only possibility. If a group, system or organisation is usurped; it’s no longer change from within. It becomes change by imposition, do or die!

So the “it’s better to join and work to change a group, system or organisation from within, than from outside” advice is or becomes rather, to borrow a distinguished mind’s phrase “redundant

Effective change of an entrenched group and its interests and/or a deeply established system, organisation, has historically always been external, that is, from outside. The means vary, but the predominant and most effective means is always exerting force on pressure points of a group, system or organisation.

It’s not always easy but not impossible either to find pressure points, weak points [weaknesses], especially in a well established group or system. But once found, the best strategy is to apply unrelenting force on such points, attack and weaken the weaknesses within, further.

However, it’s noteworthy to mention that every human group, system or organisation, inevitably has such pressure and hence vulnerable points. For, it is essentially a body of human bodies coalesced together for whatever objective[s].

If and when dealing with an established and strong group, system or organisation, it’s strategically and operationally wrong and a mistake of gargantuan proportions to attempt to attack and/or weaken its strongest points, that is, its strengths especially if you have and operate with limited resources.

To face and deal with strength requires strength, preferably equal or better – more strength – than the opponent’s existing strength. It requires more resources. Therefore, the best strategy and operation is to attack and weaken the existing weaknesses within the group, system or organisation.

My own strategic and operational advice and wisdom, contrary to “it’s better to join and work to change the group, system or organisation from within, than from outside“, is that, if you can’t change a group, system or organisation from outside; and if you must therefore, join a group, system or organisation, don’t delude yourself about “changing it from within”. Forget about that; it’s fool’s errand!

Instead, complete submission to the group, system or organisation and its ethos, to the point of becoming fanatic, is the best strategy. You go in the whole hog and work with and for the group, system or organisation. It rewards immensely.

Diplomacy and Africa

Diplomacy, one must emphasise, political diplomacy, as it is and practised in Africa, much like all things political, administrative and governance, is a colonial political [and power] instrument that Africans grossly misunderstand, despite pretending to understanding it.

Africans do not understand [political] diplomacy as a political instrument [weapon], how they can best and effectively use this political instrument to their advantage, to foster consensus while still maintain control; hence their flagrant misuse and abuse of diplomacy and diplomatic values.

Political diplomacy is one such colonial instrument [weapon] Africans inherited but, like most things that constitute their colonial inheritance – their colonial largesse they enjoy and abuse, most of the times – hardly understand and careless and have little interest to study and understand.

They, indeed, have diplomatic institutions and rituals that follow in the footsteps of or are simply a blind practice of the traditional colonial diplomacy but are largely clueless and careless to ask, hence investigate, why they do what they do, in the name of diplomacy and not differently.

They may or claim to have studied and hence have degrees, certificates in things like international relations or even diplomacy but they aren’t diplomatic in their behaviour, in their relations either, firstly, with and among themselves and/or, secondly, towards others – foreigners.

Africans are sickeningly obsequious to foreigners, and pathetically self-dehumanisingly obsequious to “white” people, even in diplomatic circles. African diplomats behave and act towards – in the presence of – “white” diplomats, their supposed so-called “counterparts”, obsequious.

There’s, unsurprisingly, little to zero diplomacy inside many African diplomatic institutions. Most are rife with infighting, senseless, totally irrelevant, unjustified, embarrassingly uncivilised petty plotting.

Many are like village chiefdoms where every villager tries to appease and appeal to the benevolence of the clan chief, who has access to the overall village chief, to put in a good and kind word for them to the village chief, hence the insidious backstabbing and plotting.

African diplomacy is rogue, brute diplomacy because Africans deal [prefer to deal] with and treat [respond to] differences with raw and brute force, especially among themselves, irrespective of the nature and magnitude of differences.

It’s as if we Africans are naturally hardwired to respond to differences with force. Dialogue, hence diplomacy, does not come naturally and easily even though, and if, it promises the same or similar results.

We take and/or treat dialogue, hence diplomacy, for and as a weakness and we’re terribly afraid to admit or show our weaknesses, that we may indeed be weak. This is why it’s not uncommon for many of us to try to hide and/or protect our incompetence and ignorance.

This behaviour and practice is even more prevalent with and among those with a little power and/or in power, hence, again, why [political] diplomacy in Africa is typically and more often than not, such a waste of time and resources.

Nowhere in Africa has diplomacy, alone, been commendably effective in resolving political differences and conflicts. It has always been and it is always played and put forward as a mere front – a ruse to beguile while brute force is applied behind the so-called diplomatic scenes [circles].

This is precisely because, diplomacy is a colonial political instrument [weapon] the effective use and application of which, very few Africans can claim to fully understand, not least African so-called diplomats most of whom are mere institutional clerks – paper pushers.

Diplomacy in Africa is comedy, and most African diplomatic officials are merely clowns with high sounding colonial titles, in expensive suits. This is not to suggest, however, these individuals are naturally clowns, no.

Far from it, most are intelligent people but their positions require them to act like and thus make them clowns, usually in expensive suits. To act and appear the part – which the “hypocrisy” industry demands and expects of its tools.

This is why African conflicts cannot be and will never be [re]solved by diplomacy, or at least by [with] diplomacy alone. It must always be accompanied by [with] the show and demonstration of brute force, the breaking of bones and cracking of skulls.

We Africans don’t trust or believe in [nice] sweet words. We trust and believe in the show and demonstration of force, brute force and power. It’s conspicuous in our voices, in our body language, gesticulation.

Diplomacy is for the weak, not the strong and there’s hardly any African who believes they’re weak. Weakness is an abomination. It’s an insult to many and hence, why people go to unparalleled lengths to hide and/or protect their weaknesses.

Democracy and Africa hanging by a thread

There are growing voices from and by African governments and many Africans questioning, and thus, going as far as rejecting what they call “western” style “democracy“, that has so far, dominated political discourse concerning public governance in Africa.

The kind of democracy and its values anchored on an array of freedoms; freedoms that are vital to political democracy such as freedom of speech, expression, choice and so forth.

Africans allege these are western values and hence not universal but the western political powers try to foist these democratic values on Africa. However, Africans also allege and complain that they find such western style democracy and its values sharply at odds with their interests.

They complain and accuse western powers of imposing on them – African countries and their governments – a system of [public] governance that they find stifling to their socioeconomic and political objectives.

That may well be true, for there’s, really, no universal, one size fits all system of [public] governance. Africans – African countries and their governments – are right to, and they should complain if and when they feel they are being patronised and imposed on by western powers.

They are right to assert themselves if and when they feel western powers are meddling in their internal [political] affairs. It’s good that African countries and their governments make it clear to western powers that self-determination is of the essence and are determined to achieve it.

However, while African countries and their governments reject western style democracy and its attendant values, which they allege are not aligned to and therefore find stifling to their socioeconomic and political development needs and objectives, they should also reject western support.

African countries and their governments that are bitterly complaining about western style democracy and its stifling attendant values imposed on them, and making efforts to reject it and its values, should also reject western support to train their police, military, workforce and other vital support they receive from western political establishments.

For, it’s through such support that western style democracy and its stifling values of political freedoms that African countries and their governments take serious issues with, are transmitted, and hence, on which the subsequent imposition they complain bitterly about is anchored.

It’s a gargantuan fit of irony for African countries and their governments, particularly those attempting to justify or cover up their authoritarian practices and/or tendencies, to complain about western style imposed democracy and its values of political freedoms, for meddling in their internal affairs when demands are made on them to be accountable for their practices. When western style imposed democracy suddenly holds a mirror to them, but find it appropriate and acceptable when it serves their interests.

At the same time they complain bitterly about western imposed democracy and its values of political freedoms, they’re accepting all kinds of support from western powers.

This behaviour, this double-faced behaviour/dealing, exposes and makes them look like the political hypocrites they really are. Complaining bitterly when the same system criticises them and praising and waxing lyrical about it when it coddles them.

They act, and thus, rather, make it or want to make it a self-service, a choose and mix, at someone else’s expense but where who caters for the expense has no voice at all on setting the rules or decorum of self-service or what can and cannot be chosen and mixed.

If African countries and their governments are intent on rejecting what they view as western style imposed democracy, which, admittedly, has its own sinister motives and may well have contributed to the unstable political environments in Africa, they must reject the entire package.

In fact, they must reject the entire claim and notion of “democracy“. They must get rid of it from their political discourse. They must find and define a new political language, their own language that fits and reflects their own political values, beliefs, ideologies and so forth.

Land Justice: the likely future political frontier for struggle in Africa.

Considering how and the rate at which African land is being expropriated from the locals, of their ancestral land, by none other than the very people who purport to be African “leaders”- many supposedly “liberators” and “freedom” fighters – now in power and government but who are, in reality, foreign agents, and almost freely handed over to foreign private and corporate interests in the false name of “foreign investment“; the land issue, i.e, land ownership is obviously going to be the next big political issue in Africa soon, once citizens realise the magnitude of their “landlessness” status to which they have been systematically condemned by their governments.

Many people in African countries are being expropriated of their ancestral land by their governments, through all manners, at whims by the powerful individuals in government, through hastily cobbled up legislation and handed to foreign private and corporate interests; sometimes on the basis of personal friendship.

The smaller countries, most of which are treated as private property by those in power – who have a total monopoly on power through their monopoly on and access to State instruments of power, land expropriation by those in power and government, under the guise of “national interests and development“, is rendering many powerless citizens landless.

While rendered landless, at the same time, citizens are also systematically stripped of power and channels through which to seek redress of this injustice, the biggest heist in the 21st century, of the african land, not by foreign forces but by african governments that act as foreign agents.

The more this injustice is perpetrated, the more african citizens are rendered landless, the more they are condemned to generational destitution, the more they witness the expropriation and wanton theft of their ancestral land by their governments, the more they realise their governments are no different from or even, in most cases, worse than the colonial systems, the more they realise they have nothing to lose anymore, the more likely they will rise up, rightly so, to demand land justice by all means. The more justified their cause will be!

Private property, the idea of ownership of private property, in most African countries, is a farce if one’s property can be taken away, anytime, for whatever reasons, excuses or at whims, stripped of power or any channels of justice, by those with power, in government because they can – because they have the power not only to do so but to justify it.

Land Justice will likely be the future political frontier for struggle in Africa.

The problem of leadership, in most African countries, is that of perception: the inability to distinguish between leadership and authority granted by power

Africa’s problem of leadership is that of perception and the inability to distinguish between leadership and authority granted by position, that’s, positional authority that comes from power. The common attitude by many people in power in Africa and hence cause of crisis in leadership, is to confuse authority for[with] leadership.

Most people in positions of power and authority aren’t necessarily leaders. They are often in such positions by either use of force and usurpation of power, or by way of selection or appointment by a higher power [authority], to whom they are beholden.

The process for selection [appointment] to such positions is more about the ability to serve the interests of the higher power that selects [appoints] them to such positions; and less about, if at all, demonstrable leadership abilities [credentials] of such individuals.

Such people in positions of power and authority simply have authority granted by their positions but lack any or have zero leadership abilities and/or skills. They are more the right-hand managers for the higher power than the leaders they falsely claim to be.

Their priority is catering to the interests and whims of the higher power that places them into such positions, and work to maintain that order. Nothing wrong with that in a patronage system in which favouritism, nepotism, ‘groupism‘, group-think, “cliqueism” is the criteria.

This explains why there’s so much abuse of power and authority by people in positions of power and authority. They aren’t leaders but [institutional] process managers who, for the most part, lack basic organisational management skills. To say incompetent is not to exaggerate!

But they hide their incompetence behind the veil of power and authority and the fact that they are only responsible or accountable to a single power source and for that reason, they know how to manipulate and appease that power’s emotions to maintain their positions. Clever strategy!

Leadership is not “positional“; leadership has and knows no boundaries. It’s not selective, neither does or should it discriminate or favour one group interests against another group interests. One’s power and authority is in no way proof of one’s leadership abilities and skills.

Leadership is not coercive, it’s consensual, cooperative and seeks to bring everyone on board. It does not only encourage but can’t succeed without collective participation in all aspects necessary for it to succeed such as collective participation in the decision-making process.

“African Countries claim to be Republics but are, in reality, run as Monarchies”. A Conversation with a Spiritual Friend.

A friend, who transitioned from the physical, into the spiritual world, but whose physical body was dumped into the proverbial “six feet under”, long, long ago, five years before I was brought into the physical world, had something rather interesting to say – a thought provoking remark about Africa and its countries; how they are run.

“Although many African countries claim to be Republics, they, in reality, in practice, are Republican Monarchies” He remarked, during our conventional spiritual conversation.

Rather surprised by my spiritual friend’s remark, I thought about it and it quickly reminded me of the many, apparently, “bad” things I’ve been told and/or taught about the “Monarchy” system of rule in Africa by, especially those with vested interests in the prevailing and promoted alternatives – Republic being one such alternatives.

“They’re run as Monarchies with[in] a Republican structure of governance. They have governments, usually whose heads are and behave – in all manner and form – as “Monarchs”. The long transitioned friend, further said, in our conventional spiritual conversation.

The more I thought about that thought provoking remark by my long transitioned friend, whom I’ve never known nor met in the physical, the more it troubled me and but equally, the more I discovered I knew very little than I thought I did about a Republic. As a result, I decided to inform myself, to improve my understanding of a Republic beyond the indoctrination I’ve been fed over the years.

So, to whet but also partially satisfy my curiosity, I quickly made a Wikipedia search on a Republic. A Republic, according to a form of government in which the country is considered a “public matter”, not the private concern or property of the rulers.”

The primary positions of power within a republic are attained, through democracy, oligarchy, autocracy, or a mix thereof, rather than being unalterably occupied. It has become the opposing form of government to a monarchy and has therefore no monarch as head of state.

But taking a critical examination of what Wikipedia says a Republic is, and in relation to how most African countries are run, it’s not lost on anyone, more so, many observant Africans, that what is supposed to be “public matter” is, indeed, the private concern or property of the rulers of African countries.

That in many African polities, the supposedly “public matter”, that is, the country, its people and affairs of concern, is treated as a private property by/of the few anointed individuals and their enablers and handlers – the people around them, with and through whom they effect commands and run national affairs. They run national affairs as private affairs, using national resources which, in theory, are supposed to be collective national wealth, benefiting all citizens.

How they come to power, that is, into positions of power – may indeed, have all the hallmarks of a Republic – fulfill the definitions of a Republic, according to Wikipedia definition. But these are mere gimmicks, usually well orchestrated national robbery into power – positions of power.

Theirs is the systematic usurpation of power and therefore country; and the subsequent privatisation of the country and its resources, treating people – citizens – as their subjects, expendable at the slightest whims, for all reasons and excuses.

Most heads of the many African Republics are unaccountable individuals, only accountable to themselves, but to whom everyone else is made to and must be accountable.

All these are hallmarks of a true, in fact, absolute Monarchy. Most of these individuals are and behave like absolute Monarchs.

They are formally called “Presidents” but in reality and practice; they are and behave like Kings. They are “PresiKings“.

Why Kings? This is because African Presidencies are, and have been since “independence“, predominantly the men’s turf. Consequently, they have and have had “First Ladies”.

But in the context of a Monarchy, the designation “First Lady” in many quasi Republics in Africa, is in actual sense a Queen. So, many African “First Ladies” are and behave like Queens. Similarly, the designation “First Family” is republic speak for “Royal Family”, complete with Princes and Princesses.

They have a whole slew of courtiers, servants, with high sounding servant titles; but they are still servants to these self appointed, self styled “PresiKings” – absolute monarchs – who do their every bidding, good or bad.

They often have successions, typically, a son – Prince – taking over from the father, the PresiKing, either as a consequence of death, old age or anything that renders the PresiKing incapable of running the national, or rather monarchical affairs.

After my long reflection, armed with or helped greatly by that Wikipedia definition of a Republic, I went back to my long transitioned spiritual friend, I conceded to and agreed greatly with his observation and thus subsequent remark.

But I also made it clear to him that his rather honest observation and remark, caused me such distress. I feel depressed for having been lied to all this time about all the “bad” things about/of a Monarchy system of rule.

Similarly, I feel disappointed and equally depressed about the lies I’ve been fed regarding a Republic system of rule in Africa, as the best alternative to the Monarchy system of rule, without telling me, it’s, in fact, the people, not the system, that are the problem.

That any system of rule or otherwise, can be compromised, corrupted, abused, misused by people, irrespective of how well structured it is. The truth is, the people are the system, they make the system. There’s no such thing as a distinct system, separate from people.

“When we speak [talk] about/of a country, nation, an organisation, an institution, a monarchy, government, we are essentially speaking [talking] about people. Without whom, there’s no such thing as or system.” my long transitioned spiritual friend cautioned.

“Systems, that is, institutionalised structures, are abused because they are run by people with vested personal interests. Despite the common public pretence, we are primarily driven by personal interests, and all else is secondary. So people will do anything to further their personal interests.” My long transitioned spiritual friend, concluded, rather solemnly

The Johnny-Come-Lately to the Political Honeypot

The Johnny-come-lately are everywhere, every system- of any nature, has them. They’re in every organisation. Too often, their calculated, tactical approach or just downright naivety, in most cases, leads them to behave and act overzealous.

Their exaggerated display of overzealousness attracts attention on and hence renders them visibility. The kind that, momentarily or for a while, overshadows those who have been around much longer than they have. But equally, effectively overshadows their own, otherwise, terrible weaknesses.

They are easily identified [identifiable] by their overzealous and ostentatious behaviour, mannerisms, in most cases, well calculated and intended to beguile, to draw attention. But also, more importantly, to endear themselves to their new environments, in some cases, with negative effects.

In any organisations, hierarchical organisations, they act overzealous, ostentatious in mannerisms, appearance, particularly to draw the attention of their “superiors”- masters – to whom, to whose powers to have the final word, they owe everything, their presence in the organisation.

They act overzealous to draw attention from their “superiors”- masters, and win favours from them, so they can have a quick promotion, be given a quick leg up, be lifted to the next rung of the organisational ladder.

No shame in that! Society is arranged that way, meritocracy is fantasy. It’s only for formality, it only exists in the books, often mentioned and grandiosely emphasised in organisations’ annual meetings and reports. Often the reality is far different, a world apart!

So, it’s in politics, there are political Johnny-come-lately. They’re overzealous, ostentatious in behaviour, mannerisms for exactly the same reasons, to draw attention and get or rather win, visibility from their new environment, and yes, their “superiors”, their masters on whom their political career, life heavily depends and hangs.

The political Johnny-come-lately, depending on their previous political affiliations and circumstances, often feel compelled to act overzealous. They do so to prove and demonstrate to their new environment and “superiors” – masters on whom their next political career, life heavily depends and hangs, that they have changed, they are redeemed from their past and fully converted to their current ideological persuasion.

Like a banished hungry dog, now back to its master’s home, trying to win affection from its master and thus be thrown a little food to survive, the political Johnny-come-lately, in their overzealous, ostentatious behaviour and actions, deep down, are insecure and desperate.

Although they behaviour and act overzealous and ostentatious to draw attention and gain visibility from their masters, they know they are treading on a delicate ground.

They aren’t sure what is and isn’t appropriate, acceptable behaviour to the masters. They are operating on a new master territory. They don’t know and aren’t quite sure of what can and will likely offend their masters, and this makes them even the more insecure, desperate and vulnerable but also extremely dangerous.

They understand fully, that that they sitting on powder keg that can and, a single touch on a wrong button, will explode on them. It makes them, or rather exposes them to manipulation and suggestions from those who have been around longer and understand the environment, how to navigate and the masters’s every whims and how to appeal, appease them.

So, the political Johnny-come-lately become tools in the meantime for those who have been around the masters but have been sidelined, to win back the masters’ sympathy and favours. This puts the political Johnny-come-lately on a dangerous possible collision path with their masters.

However, such circumstances will quickly demonstrate and distinguish the quality, intelligence of the political Johnny-come-lately by the way they handle and navigate the tricky, potentially dangerous environment they are operating in.

The cunning ones, will quickly learn they are being manipulated, used by the more experienced ones in the environment. They will quickly learn to discern their own personal interests; the interests of those who are trying to manipulate them from those of their masters and will act cunningly and decisively.

There are essentially two kinds of political Johnny-come-lately; the cunning, quiet, smooth but effective operators. Although they may initially behave and act overzealous and ostentatious, as a calculated strategy to draw attention and gain visibility, they quickly change tack.

They are well aware of the simple fact and principle that, what gets them in, may not necessarily be what is needed to keep them in and around for longer.

They change and take on more effective strategies of survival, and possibly gain more influence and power to move and rearrange the existing furniture. They change, adapting to fit and reflect their ever changing circumstances.

There’s the overzealous, ostentatious and loudmouths. They get into the political arena by being overzealous, ostentatious and loudmouths.

Although they may understand the inner workings and political chicanery of their new political environment, they realise and know that what got them in, is in fact, their strength. It is what they need to keep them in and around for much longer. So, they don’t change, they maintain it.

These are the types who are seen in public overzealously praising their masters. This is what is referred to as “ass-kissing” in political science.

They have common attributes too, they are either vertically challenged, or overweight and fat. They have a loud mouth they use as an amplifier- loud speaker – and the unmatched ability to work it, to keep it in the political honeypot. For, their ultimate aim/objective is to get access to the political honeypot in the hands of their masters.