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Leadership Lessons on conflict resolution from South Sudan

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Leadership Lessons on conflict resolution from South Sudan

May 18 th.

 

Lessons should be drawn from the country`s liberation history which equally induced ethnic rivalry and disequilibrium in key sectors. The political feuds became a duel of superiority of one ethnic group over the other. To end the crisis, it was strongly recommended that the international community exert pressure on the warring parties. This would require engaging the parties with a united and explicit locus. A cautious internationally-mediated peace agreement was signed in August 2015. Experience shows that strife and war have without doubt hindered the continent`s social, economic and political growth and development. Perhaps it is time to reflect on the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) which was adopted in July 2002. This was built around structures, objectives, principles and values, as well as decision-making processes relating to the prevention, management and resolution of crises and conflicts. Post-conflict reconstruction and development were also identified as critical to peace. The most recent power sharing act in Juba is a testament on how far we can keep the APSA and other accords. We must also introspect on why conflict is inherent. Africa`s intra and inter-nation conflict (s) have been associated to: power differentials, competition over scarce resources, tendencies to differentiate rather than converge, negative interdependence, ambiguity over responsibility or jurisdiction and denial of self-determination. There is a constant interplay between conflict and leadership. How our leaders react to problems, resolve crises, reward and punish followers is all relevant to peace and security. Leaders who are concerned about peace renewal seek to foster national cultures that are conducive to creativity, problem solving and inclusivity for all. Their perspectives on power tend to influence their strategies in conflict and enhance people to work together effectively. This is what South Sudan and Africa would require to effectively manage conflict and take conflicted nations back to normalcy. It is only fair to suggest the interaction approach to make resolve. This proposes leadership by negotiation instead of hierarchy. The gist is to sit where the other person is sitting to understand their objectives and to build and keep trust between actors. Here, negotiators and leaders in conflict should have: strong interpersonal, communication and listening skills; an ability to persuade; a readiness to trade and to engage in reciprocal rather than manipulative manner and the ability to construct long-term relationships. Roots of “Return to Peace” should also be embedded in the logic of good governance. Strategic leaders should therefore aim to foster constructive management of conflict through creative, cost-effective and cooperative (inclusive) problem-solving processes. This means that all parties must compromise as reflected in the true meaning of creating a “Win–Win” solution by openly and freely discussing the issues and sharing views about which there is a disagreement. It`s time to appreciate that discord from differences in ideas, norms, values should not lead to adversity but prosperity. Africa must not antagonize further. Written by. Jacob Otachi,

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