The Challenge of Trust Rebuilding in the Burundian Youth: Preparing for a Future Effective and Efficient Political Leadership
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“I am not upset that you lied to me, I am upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” (Friedrich Nietzsch)
People who are drawn towards the same goal always need a considerable amount of trust among them if they really want to effectively and efficiently achieve their established common goal. The question here becomes, isn’t it possible for people who have a lower level of trust towards one another, or who do not trust one another at all, to work towards a common goal? The answer to the question is, in my view, yes. Though a yes-answer, their work will be just symbolic, they will be feigning to work together while their spirits or inner persons will be working against one another. Those working in such situation cannot expect to achieve much given that their work becomes like making a step forward and two steps backward. That is a very unfortunate situation which no one would wish their community to be in. The lack of trust among people is not random. It comes into existence because of given factors. The present text examines the reasons behind the observable diminishing trust of the Burundian youth towards politics and political leaders and its impact on the social, economic and political life of Burundi. The text finally suggests what can be done to rebuild the lost/diminishing trust so as to ensure a bright social, economic and political life of the nation.
It is not rare to hear Burundians saying in their everyday interactions, sometimes with some touch of joke, other times seriously, that, to be successful in politics, you’ve got to be good at telling and manipulating lies. In their saying that, they seem to refer to their experiences in the Burundian political history which reveal that politicians make sweet promises in their public discourses, talk most often in a sweet unifying and bright-future promising language; but fail to keep their expressed promises when it comes to deeds on the ground. That negative view of politics and politicians seems to have been established in most of the Burundians’ ways of life. Among those Burundians who seem to view politics as a craft of lying, and then politicians as potential skilled liars, are the youth. Given, as is known to everyone, that the youth of any country constitutes the pillar of its today and tomorrow’s social, economic and political development, it follows that a country whose youth tend to lose trust in their nation’s politics is likely to face difficulties to have a motivated and skilled future socio-political leadership. In order to prepare for a future Burundian effective and efficient socio-political leadership, the present leadership should strive to be trustworthy in all its undertakings, which would motivate the rising generations to aspire for the good they would then be hearing and seeing in politics and politicians.
Another possible negative impact of the observed lack of/diminishing trust among the Burundian youth towards politics and politicians is that they can feign to contribute to implementing the established plans for the socio-economic development of the country, whereas they do not really believe in what they are doing. As a result, their performance will tend to be unsatisfactory given that they may happen to do what their inner persons do not agree with. That situation is so dangerous because people will be, in that case, using allocated means and time without however attempting to be productive; and the whole thing results in the silent killing of the nation’s development.
The lesson one can learn from the above-mentioned situation is that it is not enough for the state to put in place socio-economic and political plans; it should also make sure that those involved in their implementation believe in them, and this suggests ensuring their trust in the in-place politics and political leadership. The main question here might be, what are the measurement means of trust? Well, to me, trust can be measured by, among other things, the observable active and self-motivated participation in the implementation of policies in various domains of the nation’s life, the holding of the language which gives hope for better life and which testifies on the in-place leadership development achievements, the observable leader-led smooth communication in the process of implementing a given policy, the level of led’s responsiveness to the leader’s call for performing a given task or implementing a given policy, the led’s’ willingness to propose community development projects which are believed to be effectively and efficiently workable.
So, what can be done to rebuild trust among the Burundian youth and, therefore, ensure the effective and efficient social, economic and political development of the country whose success will, for sure, depend on the level of trust among development stakeholders, among whom the youth? The answer to this complex question is rather simple: put in place a long-term trust rebuilding policy and ensure that it is being implemented and not just kept in inscriptions on papers. That policy should be of course concerned with reinstalling in all Burundians trust towards politicians, but with much emphasis on the youth who seem to have been much more disappointed in politics and politicians. The policy should also bring a touch of mindset changing among political leaders so as for them to first be aware of the impact of their political words and deeds in determining the leadership for the Burundi of today and that of tomorrow, and then adopt a radical change in their behaviors (words and deeds). That would, in the end, give the youth a hope for a better Burundi and then motivate them to invest themselves in effectively and efficiently working towards a common Burundian social, economic and political development goal.