THE BLOG
11/25/2013 07:20 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

How to Become a President 101

It has been a mystery for decades, an inconsistent pattern. One question, but different answers determined by where you come from. So, what does it take for a person to become a president besides being charismatic, prolific speaker, having media coverage and the right financiers behind you, because, even education alone can't qualify you?

Let's highlight dynamics on how Presidents became Presidents, the propulsion of the successions of power shift in our civilized world. Since I reside in South Africa, I will start by saying there is a proclivity that since 1994 that Presidents who followed, they had their stint in the struggle for freedom or their family was in the struggle particularly if you come from the ANC. However, that pattern is being challenged by the rise of other opposition parties whose leaders are either well educated, social activities or majorly popular with the masses like a fire brand Julius Malema who is young and vibrant.

Taking USA into the picture, we see powerful politicians coming from certain families namely the Kennedy family who produced President JF Kennedy, then his two Senator brothers Joseph and Ted Kennedy; next being the Bush family who had two Presidents George Bush and George W Bush; lastly we had the Clinton on the political scene when President Bill Clinton was in power and his wife Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and there are speculations that she might return in 2016 elections gunning for Presidency. Obviously we can't attribute belonging to a certain family being the reason to winning power, is just this has been a recent trend, may be influenced by coming from experience derived from those who came before them. The impressive thing about USA, they had confidence in a 47 year old Barack Obama to lead the largest economy on earth; Mo Ibrahim famously said, if Obama was in Kenya, he won't have been a President at that age.

Over the years the majority of Presidents came into power after the age of 50 years old, the current oldest Heads of State being Shimon Peres (90 years old) President of Israel and Robert Mugabe President of Zimbabwe at 89 years old; this is becoming a concern in a rapidly changing world.

Another trend is of younger Presidents below the age of 45 like Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina who came to power at the age of 35; considering the fact that many countries have a young population where young people amount to more than 55% of the population, mostly in Africa, if young people in those countries would decide to have a young President, they could do that, because the secret is to unite and mobilize each other.

The Latin (South) America is growing a pattern of women becoming Presidents like Brazil, Argentina and Chile; even many countries around the world like Park Geun-hye the President of South Korea. It is an interesting evolution that the world as we know it is changing by showing confidence in women which was not a familiar thing a century ago.

The issue of women being better leaders has been gaining currency and to look at Angela Merkel of Germany would be a vindication of this, but we also have women leaders who are struggling in politics despite success elsewhere. Take for instance Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia who had a successful career at World Bank before assuming political leadership in that country. Her administration has not been immune to allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

However, we also need to interrogate the notion that leaders who have succeeded elsewhere can make better political leaders. For a while, Italy has been ruled by a fabulously rich Silvio Berlusconi, but his leadership capability has been tainted through personally inflicted scandals involving poor judgment on women issues.

Take a look at Switzerland which has no full time President and yet it is a haven for wealthy people and yet it is peaceful with less corruption if any.

There are individuals who get into power because people love them, or power was handed over to them like President Joseph Kaliba of DRC. Also considering other states which are still ruled by monarchs whom affect the political scene in those countries like England.

Any determined politician will observe if the majority of their country is educated or poor; the issue of middle class and low class. When people think you can address their needs better than your opposition and relate with their struggle and concerns, they are more likely to side with you.

Sometimes when you think you know; there comes a disruptive change in one's country when someone rises to power in an unconventional way. It is that analogy that when I thought I had the keys to success, someone came along and changed all the locks.

Great politicians know that you use emotions with the masses, but reasoning with the few. We are living in an age that we are slowly accepting to gender and age differences, what matters is what you stand for and how appealing you are to the public.