LEADERS OF TODAY
By Poiya Isaac Lagu
A leader is a person who leads a group of people; example; the head of a Country, an Organization etc; it also includes political leaders and spiritual leaders, leaders of parties, Union leaders. Who among you is a good leader? Can you be compared to our father Joseph Lagu, and the Late; Dr. John Garang? Joseph Lagu and Dr. John Garang are our real fathers, true leaders. Joseph Lagu opened our eyes to see the path to a real freedom. Did you visit your people in the Refugee Camps? You didn’t, I remember in 1996 the late; Dr. John Garang visited us when we were in Oliji Refugee Settlement Camp-Adjumani-Uganda. I always remember them for the good they did to you and me! So, what good have you done to your people as a leader of today? Have you shown any concern to them? Therefore; whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling-thus Proverb: 26-27. And always watch your words and deeds.
And leadership means the state or position of being a leader. People understands leaders differently-thus in their own ways-by their deeds. In my opinion; a good leader should have these qualities; Integrity-thus being honest-whole not divided, good Communication Skills, capable to make decisions and have a sound judgment. To Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States of America who once said “The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionable integrity”. I partially concurred with him; because if our leaders have no integrity, they shall have no real success. Even in our families, Offices and Army. And I would borrow the definition of leadership from John C. Maxwell; He defines a leader as “One who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way”. So, leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could do.
Having understood the meaning of a leader and leadership; it is yet to be seen whether our leaders are salt and light of this new Country South Sudan or could they be compared to King David, Abraham, Moses, Joshua and Noah in the Bible. I would rather compare this time of unity government in South Sudan with the Christians waiting for the Parousia (in Greek meaning ‘presence after absence’). Do you want more consultations? Well, even Jesus retreated occasionally especially when the crowd pressed upon him and He got into a Boat. He left them when they were calling and following Him, He escaped and went to pray on the Mountains. So, indeed there are times you should not make decisions when you are not certain. But, such moments should not be the normal order and ways in which you regularly do things. It should be noted that patience is not a virtue if you sit back and wait for your problem to solve itself. To wait is to waste time and opportunities for developments in the Country. And to wait may be to surrender leadership to forces that may never materialize. But, a leader should prove to be a difference maker to his people. He or she should know how to turn his ideas or scars into success. Do not become bitter and calloused to your own people. Do not insulate yourselves with negative forces and personalities that prevent peace from passing through. A prudent man sees danger and hides himself in the exile or in refugee camps or in UNMISS, while, the simple go on and suffer for it every day. An old proverb says “Sometimes you disagree to agree”. Show your people that you disagreed to agree.
Leaders of today take decisions on their own. It’s recommendable that they should consult key stakeholders before taking a decision. But, I am not saying you should consult the traditional authorities who are semi‐autonomous authorities at the State and local government levels to administer customary laws and justices in the customary law courts that includes; Kingdoms and Chiefdoms whose duties are to preserve and promote the cultures and traditions of the communities- pursuant to Section (112) of the Local Government Act, 2009. They have nothing to do with politics, they may mislead you. Consult the right people and you will get the right solutions. I am aware that you cannot do everything right. But, at least do about eighty percent to your people. They say “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going”.
Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done”. As you pay him back, you are aiding and abetting to the sufferings of your people. Do you have a better influence and negotiation skills? No! Always remember to use your emotional intelligence for a positive decision. Do not tell us it is the demand of the people-thus not sufficient. In my opinion, for anything to qualify as ‘the demand of the people’ it should have gone through a democratic process or representative institutions of the people established by the Constitution and the Revitalized Peace Agreement. If I may ask, which people? Is it the people of South Sudan? How was it done? Or was it done by the Parliament? Show us the record of the proceedings and the documentary proofs as attached and read it together with the 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement. Also, accept the reasons for the rebuttal. Otherwise, this assertion may amount to negative cynical remarks. Well, if you say it’s the demand of the people, as a leader, always go above and beyond and explain to your people why, how, the strategy and actions you have taken. It’s a procedural issue. Communicate your visions to your people. All the eyes of the South Sudanese are on you-they need peace. Most often, leaders surrender their powers to outside forces, faces and to farces.
Therefore; if you want to be a leader who is admired by many people for doing something brave and good like our founding father and leader of the Anya-Nya; Joseph Lagu and the Late; Dr. John Garang De Mabior-founder and leader of the SPLA/M, observe the qualities of a good leader. Set a good example for your Country and in your Offices, your words define who you are, your values and personalities.
The Author is An Advocate & Commissioner of Oaths, Tel; (+211)924086970, email; firstname.lastname@example.org, Juba!