the holidays are here, it’s time to work


FOLLOWING on the lead by the government last week, I’m off on my retreat right now and will be practising what I preach by holding some strategic sessions with key members of my own little Cabinet.

No, wait! The analogy of family and government ends there. You see, that path is fraught with ankle-twisting gnarls over what the wife’s position would be to your Presidency, or whether the children are Cabinet members or expectant citizens saying “Tusaba gavumenti etuyambe.”

I am going to be presenting some performance accountability to my people this week, and setting up goals for 2014 in a process that will, as threatened recently, certainly involve the aspirations of the common folk in my little republic.

We are seriously going to discuss our goals and targets, and agree measures of performance. We are also going to assess deeply what went wrong this year, what went well, and what lessons we learnt.

It’s going to be an entertaining process because of the average age of our group – which is about twenty (20), but that is deceptive because we range from the ages of four (4) to forty (40) and we are only five (5) in number.

Our interests, goals and aspirations are therefore wide-ranging and diverse, but we will seek common objectives and find a way of working together through 2014 to achieve them.

We are not going to assess performance using the usual means.

Allow me to illustrate using a joke stolen from one Sandor Walusimbi (who ‘borrowed’ it from elsewhere):

A parent collected his child from school at end-term and when they had settled in their taxi, quickly read through the report and started berating the little chap over his poor performance.

After some silence, the child also piped up with, “So Daddy, talking about performance, did you see all those parents who collected their children in private cars…?”

Do not laugh – none of these are good examples for children or parents to follow, because material possessions are NOT a measure of performance for parents, and neither is the child’s position in class or grades in examinations.

Our measures of performance will focus on the long-term, character-building and integrity. I caught a good sign last week, for instance, when going over their lists to Santa Claus.

This is a television-inspired bit of culture that I have found no problem accepting since I myself grew up doing the same – the children draft lists of the things they want Santa Claus to deliver to them over Christmas, and are made to understand that provided they behave well during the year, they will be guaranteed their wishes.

Besides the toys and nice-to-haves on their lists, I was happy to find entries such as “God’s blessings” (number three on one list) and “Blessings for the family” (number four), on a list of more than fifty items! That, in my obviously biased assessment, gives the parents a good rating.

I don’t know exactly what the kids will use to assess our performance, but I sincerely hope they consider the amount of time we spend with them at home in the mornings and evenings; and the quality of that time; as well as the impact it has made on their lives.

I also hope they do look at the material gains they have made and assess them against the millions of others who have much, much less, so that they appreciate how hard we’ve worked to put them together.

Over the years, luckily, they have learnt how to gather up toys and gifts for charities such as orphanages and other vulnerable children – and the house cleaning exercise at the start of 2014 will once again lead to these charities benefitting from unused (not broken rubbish) toys and other materials. 

There’s a lot more to this, and we will be working it out as we go along – and the keyword here is ‘working’.

In fact, because of the importance of this segment of the year, our catchphrase for this period is ‘The holidays are here, it’s time to Work’. 

But that’s internal communication. 

To everybody else we say: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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