By Edmund Zar-Zar Bargblor
The legendary United States’ leader John Fitzgerald Kennedy was correct when he wrote: “It is time for a new generation of leadership, to cope with new problems and new opportunities.” His words still ring true today, in contemporary times.
The people of Liberia have and continue to go through difficulties. Their hopes have been dashed so many times, they are in search of a leader that will stand up and address their concerns and aspirations. Now, they are searching for that leadership, a leadership that will have the capacity to lead and unite them in addressing their socioeconomic goals. They have suffered so much, some have returned from refugee camps in neighboring African countries and now they are at home, hoping to once again find that tranquility of mind that they cherished so much during their peaceful days of yesteryears.
They are embracing the various candidates, but with caution and with much anticipation. But, within the realm of their minds, they are wondering if they are going to be fooled and be let down once again? They have listened to the sweet talks from past leaderships, but yet, they have no major paved roads, no bridges to connect their towns and villages. They need good schools for their children, clinics, electricity, and running water. Most urgently, they need a leader that will develop their road-network, a network that will be in line with other countries within the West Africa sub-region. The people of Liberia are undoubtedly wondering about the future of their children and grandchildren.
The term “leader” is used generously these days to signify someone in a leadership role, but there is much more to being a true leader than achieving a leadership role. Every able individual has an opportunity to be a leader, whether he or she is working with clients, representing victims of crimes, providing pro bono legal services, or volunteering for community and charitable organizations.
As Liberians prepare themselves to participate in the upcoming presidential elections, each of the more than 20 presidential candidates must be scrutinized carefully. Their past activities as politicians should be analyzed also, and this should include members of their inner circles.
Liberia Road Network
There are different views on the attributes of a true leader, but Edward Pappas, an American writer, has identified top ten.
(1) A true leader understands and listens to people.
(2) A true leader enlightens people.
(3) A true leader guides, but does not dictate to people.
(4) A true leader enables and empowers people.
(5) A true leader motivates people.
(6) A true leader inspires people.
(7) A true leader credits people.
(8). A true leader helps people.
(9). A true leader leads people by example.
(10). A true leader serves his people.
In his book, toward a Meaningful Life, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson wrote: “A true leader should be judged not by what he has, but by what he has not— ego, arrogance and self interest. A true leader sees his work as a selfless service toward a higher purpose…When it comes time to take credit, he makes himself invisible; but he is the first to answer at the time of need, and he will never shrink away in fear…A true leader wants nothing more than to give people pride, to make people stand on their own, as leaders in their own right. Instead of trying to blind us with his or her brilliance, a true leader reflects our own light back to us, so that we may see ourselves anew.”
Let us hope, the people of Liberia will not be let down once again with the upcoming leadership that will eventually emerge at the end of the 2017 presidential elections. It is anticipated that the new leadership will perceive the Liberian Presidency as an opportunity to be of service and a leader that will lead the people of Liberia by example.
In this election therefore, Liberians must elect an individual who is a reflection of their African-ness, values their culture and rich African heritage. Liberians are crying out in the wilderness for a leader that will awaken their African-ness both mentally and psychologically. Yes, indeed, this election must produce that special leader, a leader that will have the fortitude, the resolve and imbued with the sense of service. Said elected leader must demonstrate in his/her actions that employment opportunities will be awarded to those Liberians with the requisite qualifications and skills, irrespective of their tribal or sectional persuasions.
Liberia Road Network
The leader of Rwanda, President Kagame, was correct when he said: “Africa today has the opportunity to play its rightful role in the global arena. But to do so requires the continent to speak with one voice and to be competitive in all aspects, which in turn demands radical socioeconomic transformation.” And for this to happen, he affirmed, “African countries need a new kind of leadership – one that has a vision for the country and a passion and commitment for its rapid development as well as the well-being of its people.”