By Paul T. Shipale
I wish to join millions across the globe in heartily congratulating the Founding Father and First President of Namibia as well as the Leader of the Namibian revolution, His Excellency Dr Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma, and wish him many happy returns of the day.
Indeed, the annals of history will record with kindness the role played by H.E. Dr Nujoma who led the Liberation Movement of SWAPO from its inception on the 19th of April 1960 and led us in the crucible of our modern and protracted armed liberation struggle on the 26 of August 1966 as the only Commander-in-Chief of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) SWAPO’s Military Wing, until we achieved our final victory through the attainment of our Freedom and Genuine Independence on the 21st March 1990.
Perhaps to best describe him, let us read the book by Professor Keto E. Mshigeni and Professor Jairos Kangira titled; “Teaching and Leading by Example, the Story of Sam Nujoma” launched on the 6th of December 2019.
The book was forwarded by Professor Lazarus Hangula who stated that “when reflecting about Dr Nujoma’s lifelong work, observing, reading, listening to, as well as reflecting on what he says or wants to see done for Namibia, freedom and the welfare of her people, have been his lifelong project”.
Professor Hangula continued “Dr. Nujoma always dreams big and good things for Namibia; and he makes them happen, because he is a thorough and through man of action”.
Indeed, I agree that leadership is about purpose and direction, and concur with those who are saying that leadership is also about identifying potential, talent spotting and mentoring.
In the first chapter of introduction of the book by Professor Keto E. Mshigeni, he described Dr. Nujoma as of the unique and exemplary leaders who touched and mentored many; and who is continuing to influence our thinking about Africa’s past, achievements, socio-economic development and progress.
Indeed, Dr. Nujoma has a hands-on approach in identifying leadership potential. Once he spots that talent, he consults with others on the specific tasks to be assigned to an individual. He spotted many young talent and groomed them, such as the current Prime Minister Dr. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and the Late Honourable Dr. Abraham Iyambo, to mention but a few.
In addition, Professor Mshigeni described Dr. Nujoma as an extraordinary leader who is abundantly endowed with many unique virtues and attributes such as a deep sense of purpose and direction, a visionary who is blessed with a far-sighted vision, a pragmatist with a responsive, kind, caring, bold, and yet also, a forgiving heart and a stout Pan-Africanist.
As Professor Hangula describes Dr. Nujoma, as a man endowed with qualities of leadership and vision which propelled him to be at the helm of Namibia’s defining historic moment of the protracted liberation struggle and ushering in Namibia’s independence.
As a leader, Dr. Nujoma allows and encourages debate on any issue amongst the people. Fundamental to his strategy of decision making is research and consultation, seeking views, not always from his team members, but also from people outside his circle.
Up to now he remains a hands-on person who consults people with different experiences and backgrounds. This makes his decision making effective and efficient and as such he is a true political strategist who anticipates various outcomes. Once he is convinced, he decisively takes the decision.
Dr Nujoma is a man who believes that one person cannot do everything, as such once a decision was made, he would then delegate to implement. He believes one can do many things through people. The founding father is known for directing and also leading by example.
Dr. Nujoma has a passion for his country and people. Passion and purpose are often considered as fundamental to leadership qualities because they describe leaders in society.
In short, H.E. Dr. Sam Nujoma stands proudly on Namibia’s landscape as a symbol of national unity, sovereignty and national independence and I therefore wish him personal good health and a long life. Happy 91st Birthday Tatekulu! Kulupa nomeho omayego tuku tasinine.
The article was written in my personal capacity as a private citizen and not as an employee of the Presidency serving as a Senior Special Assistant to the Founding Father of the Namibian Nation and First President of the Republic of Namibia as per Act 16 of 2005 and Act 18 of 2005 on Former Presidents' Benefits and Support Services.