NADD needs a gutsy Leader

“After the by-elections, the agenda of NADD will proceed to be implemented, and one of the agenda is precisely looking at the issue of who will be the flag bearer for NADD,” Mr Sallah explained…the Point

With NADD preparing to announce the long awaited flag bearer that most supporters have been yearning, I have a word of caution for the selection committee: Leadership is not for wimps. It takes strength of character, people skills and an adherence to a set of steadfast principles. Anyone who is a leader – a team leader, a business leader, a political leader – will inevitably face the same task, that of exercising leadership in the face of adversity with a cool, calm and level headedness.

The hallmarks of a great leader lie in the ability of that person to bring certain key factors across to his team-mates. In other words, a leader has got to be charismatic enough to inspire his team with the will and motivation to get the task done. The primary key in achieving this revolves around the notion of vision, communication and in the case of the Gambia bravery.

It is axiomatic that every winning team must have a vision. Without it a team will never succeed simply because without vision, a team can’t even know what success is and certainly won’t know how to get there. Sort of like a headless chicken running around.

A leader’s vision is his idea of what success means to him and the team. He is the individual who directs what needs to be done and it’s his job to ensure that he conveys this picture to the rest of the team coherently, so as to get the job done. Hence, a leader’s vision is what pulls the whole endeavor along. It is what the team struggles for, competes for, fights for and sacrifices for and under the correct leadership, will successfully attain.

NADD’s flag bearer will have his or her work cut out for him/her as far as vision is concerned. The whole endeavor is geared towards ending Yahya Jammeh’s tyranny. But that doesn’t negate the need for effective leadership. Vision thus gives a team a mission, a sense of purpose to get excited about and a reason for being charged up, enthused and motivated, but it takes a great leader to put together a great team, inspire them with a true sense of mission and purpose. NADD cannot afford to select some one lacking in this capacity.

A leader with a vision and a mission as important as changing the tyrannical political landscape that is the Gambia without the ability to convey this vision to a largely poor and illiterate electorate is akin to a hot air balloon without someone to work the controls. Hence, a key factor in good leadership is the simple ability to communicate with the team and in the case of elections to get your message across to the electorate. No amount of vision will help if the leader fails to get it across. And the key to getting it across is articulation.

However communication is a two-way street: talking and getting the message across, then listening to hear whether it was the correct message that actually got across. African politicians and Gambians for that matter are used to talking down to the electorate instead of listening. That’s one of the most common dangers that beset Gambian leaders: that they do not listen and that they don’t have the patience to listen. They are usually surrounded by sycophants and get carried away with this notion of self importance to a fault. Will NADD’s flag bearer avoid this pit fall? I don’t know. But the nation will be the winner if he does.

Dynamic leadership requires that a leader steers the project to a fruitful end or at least give it their all. Nothing is more important in unseating a decade old dictatorship than guts. If NADD should select some wimp to lead, knowing that Yahya Jammeh will stop at nothing to stay in power, the outcome is clear as day…NADD and Gambians by extension will lose. Tyranny will triumph. Any leadership aspirant who is not willing to go the extra mile should not be selected. This is not an entitlement and ego has no place here. We are talking about the lives and livelihood of our country men. It is a challenge and we trust that NADD will come up with someone we can all not only rally around, but some one who will work hard and stand up when tyranny gets confronted in October of 2006.


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