Age can be a relevant factor when considering a presidential candidate’s ability to perform the duties of the presidency. The Presidency of any nation is a demanding job that requires significant physical, mental stamina, as well as the ability to handle stress and make important decisions under pressure.
However, age should not be the sole factor in determining a candidate’s qualifications. Factors, such as experience, policy positions, and leadership skills, are also important when evaluating a candidate’s fitness for the presidency.
An African philosopher once said : “A nation, irrespective of the age of its leader, must have two essential attributes. The leadership must be knowledgeable in the area of governance, and second, the leadership needs to have the passion to be of service to the people.” Accordingly, these attributes are necessary , if meaningful developments are to be realized and that these attributes need to be complimentary .
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.
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. 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 2023 Presidential and General 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. Yes indeed, Liberia needs a leadership that will engage the Liberian Diaspora communities by focusing on creative mechanisms through which they can contribute to political, economic and social growth; a leader that will embrace the concept of dual nationalities for all diaspora Liberians.
In this election therefore, Liberians must elect an individual who reflects 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 needs a leadership that will help her people to review the mistakes of her past, and critically reassess the status of Liberians’ misguided historical mindset and from a socio- political perspective.
Liberia needs a leadership that will help her citizens to address and eventually eliminate the ‘Congo-Country Divide’ that has engulfed the nation for over 150 years.
There are many qualities that make a great leader. Experience, commitment, and knowledge of industry are at the top of the list. But it’s important to remember that neither age nor experience alone defines a leader. There are other attributes, where leaders have become successful despite their age and early career choices. Age gives us a perspective on things that happened in the past. Old age on another hand, brings wisdom and knowledge from failures. The age of a Liberian presidential candidate has never been a problem but rather, corruptions by government officials is one of the crucial issues confronting the Liberian Republic.
About The Author: Mr. Edmund Zar-Zar Bargblor is an Educator. He is a graduate of Cuttington University, Liberia; Howard University Washington, D.C, and Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. He is a former Deputy Managing Director of the National Port Authority of Liberia, NPA. He can be contacted at: [email protected]
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