Analysis of "Pillars of Leadership." A poem by Charles Mloka

Analysis of "Pillars of Leadership." A poem by Charles Mloka

Pillars of Leadership is one of the poems in The Wonderful Surgeon and Other Poems for the 'Advanced Level English language Paper Two'. Read Poetic TerminologiesHow to Read a Poem and How to Analyse a Poem before reading and analysing the poem below: 

Pillars of Leadership
By Charles Mloka 
Be committed to your people,
Take all responsibilities,
With all efforts you can,
To your people save,
Heydays and in difficulties.

Cowardice avoid,
Or shame to be,
Or rearing somebody, simply to you,
Being your relative;
Your fellow African,
Your fellow European.

Don’t eschew to punish him,
When a wrongful act he does.
Don’t say, “I am protecting him,
Because he is my tribesman!”

Don’t say, “I am protecting him,
Because he belongs to my religion!”

Don’t say, “I am protecting her,
Because she belongs to my gender!”

Don’t entertain colleagueism,
your leadership to control.

Pillars of leadership,
Patriotism first, integrity second,
Political will and pragmatism third.
Objectivism and commitments, fourth,
And observing Rule of Law, last.

Close always to the people,
Who brought you to power.
Their problems, your problems.
Their difficulties, yours.
Not theoretically, but practically.
Of their concerns,
Always follow-up,
Don’t wait on the Chair!

Leadership means, popular affairs,
and not for struggling,
the tenure of office,
state house to take,
for all means,
legal or illegal,
with intent to embezzle,
public properties,
accumulating wealth,
leaving millions suffering.
That is lame leadership!

Charles Mloka was born in Arusha, Tanzania. He attended primary and secondary education between 1965 and 1975. He studied Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and Master of Laws (LLM) from the University of Dar es Salaam. He worked as clerk Assistant in the Parliament of Tanzania from 1998-2006. Currently, he is the Assistant Director in the Hansard Department of the Parliament of Tanzania.
The title of the poem is direct and symbolic. It reflects the contents, that is, the foundations of a good leadership.
The poem is about the foundations of a good leadership and malpractices of good leadership. The poet tries to explain the evils of bad leadership as well by pointing out the things that should not be practiced by the leaders in the society.
The persona of the poem is a person who is disillusioned and dissatisfied with the leaders especially those who do not comply with the principles of good leadership.
The addressee of the poem is that society in which leaders are irresponsible, hence bringing underdevelopment to the people.
[6] TONE 
The tone of the poet is serious and critic.
[7] MOOD 
The mood of the poem is serious and critic.
The poem is divided into nine stanzas with each stanza having varied number of lines. For example, stanzas 4, 5, and 6 all have lines per each one.
The type of the poem is modern free verse poem. It does not rhyme. So, it has irregular rhyme scheme.
The sound devices of the poem are observed as well. Some of them are:
(1) Alliteration. The poet has applied alliteration like ‘p’ in “Their problems, your problems” in the 8th stanza and ‘l’ in “That is lame leadership!” in the last stanza.
(2) Repetition. This device has also been applied in the poem. For instance, this happens when the poet repeats the words like ‘Leadership’ and ‘protecting’ for emphasis on the points.
(3) Parallelism. This method has also been used. The poet has arranged some lines to parallel each other. For example, in the 2nd stanza, the poet says, “Your fellow African/Your fellow European”. These lines parallel each other for the emphasis and musical effect of the poem.
The language used by the poet is simple and understandable by the ordinary readers. The poet has successfully used this language so as to carry the message to the intended audience in a simple way.
[12] THEMES 
The themes are discussed in depth in this poem. Some of them are common to our own societies as well. The following themes have been portrayed.
(1) Commitment. “Be committed to your people” in the first stanza.
(2) Favoritism or nepotism. “Or rearing somebody, simply to you,/ Being your relative” in the second stanza.
(3) Tribalism. “Don’t say, ‘I am protecting him,/ Because he is my tribesman” in the third stanza.
(4) Segregation in terms of religion. “Don’t say. ‘I am protecting him,/Because he belongs to my religion” in the 4th stanza.
(5) Gender inequality. “Don’t say, ‘I am protecting her,/ Because she belongs to my gender” in the 5th stanza.
(6) Irresponsibility. In the 8th stanza; ”Don’t wait on the Chair”.
(7) Good governance. Last stanza.
Embezzlement of public funds. “With intent to embezzle” in the last stanza.
(8) Coup d’dat. “State house to take,/for all means” in the last stanza.
(9) Exploitation. “Accumulating wealth,/leaving millions suffering” in the last stanza.
(10) Bad leadership. Last stanza.
The message of the poem is that leading the people in the society one has to follow the special pillars of leadership. The governors and the governed should all feel satisfied.
The lesson we can learn from the poem is that bad leadership is not acceptable in any society. Pillar of good leadership should be followed strictly by all leaders lest they are not good enough to lead the people.
The poem is quite relevant to the people because in our societies there are leaders who are irresponsible and they do not follow the pillars of a good leadership. These leaders in turn they do not bring development to the people, but only sufferings and other miseries to them.

Other analysed poems from this selection are:

Mloka, C (2007) The Wonderful Surgeon and Other Poems, Mkuki na Nyota, Dar es Salaam.

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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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