Mon | Jan 21, 2019

Me woulda shame

Published:Monday | February 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM

General election is at a pyretic pitch. The topic of leadership is at the fore. Being a leader is an awesome and sometimes scary responsibility. It's far worse when you assume the leadership role for large groups of people and, especially, for matters that can affect an entire country. This has special relevance to elected leaders occupying important positions and selected leaders in high places.

Some leaders work hard and selflessly. However, for some others, the lure of power has encouraged and facilitated, within them, very unhealthy attitudes and practices. Their influence has significantly contributed to the many ills befalling us.

Until and unless our leaders, at various levels, dissociate themselves from corruption and backward thinking, put country before affiliations, eschew complacency and inertia, and become innovative in problem solving, we are in for a rough ride. Unless leaders are prepared to sacrifice politics for the good of the country and accept accountability, no matter what, we are in deep trouble.

Leaders need to lead with fairness, impartiality and high ethical standards. They need to start thinking outside the box if they are to fix our many unique problems. From my point of view, there are many things that I would be ashamed to be associated with, and/or held responsible for, if I had a leadership position; at whatever level and in any arena.

Me woulda shame if I entered politics, most of all, to see what I could gain.

Me woulda shame if I were insensitive to those suffering and in pain.

Me woulda shame if I had to buy votes, leaving my abilities in doubt.

Me woulda shame if I were one of those, just a braggadocio lout.

Me woulda shame if promises that I made were only words in the wind.

Me woulda shame if things I said weren't true, because I would've sinned.

Me woulda shame if my constituents remained no better off than before.

Me woulda shame if they stayed disenfranchised, undereducated and poor.

Me woulda shame if I worked in civil service for many years on end.

Me woulda shame if my contribution, nobody could defend.

Me woulda shame if all I did everyday was work as little as I could.

Me woulda shame if citizens were badly put out because I was no good.

Me woulda shame if I got mixed up in corruption down to my core.

Me woulda shame if taxpayers' money, I squandered more and more.

Me woulda shame if I gave contracts to friends and relatives all the time.

Me woulda shame if I scoffed at it, although I was committing a crime.

Me woulda shame if, as a leader, I took advantage of my retinue.

Me woulda shame if I couldn't help them much and this I always knew.

Me woulda shame if I watched them jump and dance and follow me around.

Me woulda shame if way down deep inside on their behaviour I frowned.

Me woulda shame if I never did the things that I know are right.

Me woulda shame if I were contented to go quietly into the night.

Me woulda shame if I didn't make a difference to this fair land of ours.

Me woulda shame if I scraped all I could, joining the takers, not the doers.

Me woulda shame if I abused the poor and on their backs did ride.

Me woulda shame if others who did the same, I took the time to chide.

Me woulda shame if hypocrisy was my best stock-in-trade.

Me woulda shame if in God's eyes the grade I never made.

Me woulda shame if as a leader, no good example did I set.

Me woulda shame if no one from me could moral values get.

Me woulda shame if, tongue in cheek, most people spoke my name.

Me woulda shame if that were really true, me woulda shame, me woulda shame, me woulda shame.

- Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to and