Dawud Ibsa: A Leader with Moral Authority!
The OLF had many leaders who are noble, brave and worthy of praise. All of them gave up opportunities almost every Oromo had for the sake of their own people. Many of the OLF leaders, dead or still alive, are adored for that. However, only very few of them possess the moral authority that makes them stand tall.
Dawud Ibsa, the current leader of the OLF, is an exception in that he proved himself as a leader with moral authority – a quality very few other OLF leaders can claim.
You may ask why? And how? First, let me define moral authority – having the weight, a sense of wisdom and experience that encourages other people to put their trust in you.
A leader with a moral authority is someone who has turned time into an ally— proved to be consistently competent, maintained a consistent character, and showed consistent courage. Note that there is a common theme here—Consistency.
Consistency is key to leadership and success. In fact, it’s the sign qua non of leadership. If you do the right things the right way for the right reasons when you are young, it often goes unnoticed by the world at large. But do that over decades (40 years in the case of Dawud Ibsa), more credit, love and respect than you think you deserve will flow your way.
Are you bracing for evidence? Look no further than the date more than 5 million Oromos gathered in Finfinne ( September28, 2018) to welcome Dawud Ibsa and the OLF leadership back to Oromia.
Back to my point on consistency! Dawud Ibsa have been consistent in his personal growth, political position, character, thinking, and interactions with his colleagues and the Oromo people—and because of that, he has been able to stay in the game for over forty years. Call that a layered living—the benefits and gains of the sufferings he endured to produce a life of leadership that others may want to learn from and emulate.
Fast forward that to moral authority. In a world filled with daily changes and continuous disruptions, people look for a leader who can provide stability. A leader with moral authority is flexible enough to accept changes while steadfastly trustworthy and providing hope. Spend an hour with Dawud Ibsa, you will come across with the conclusion that his consistency exudes trust and hope even in the face of adversity.
Dawud Ibsa also excells in three critical areas that earn him the moral authority:
Competence—the ability to lead well. Making smart decisions, knowing your people, understanding your field, and committing to personal growth. Dawud Ibsa demonstrates that he knows what he is doing—and that he learns from his mistakes. To me this is what enabled him to establish himself as a leader worth following.
Courage—moving forward in the face of fear. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the presence of mind to act when afraid. Dawud Ibsa has the courage to make hard decisions, needed changes, and cast vision.
Character—being bigger on the inside than the outside. Leaders of character know who they are is more than what they achieve. Dawud Ibsa has unparalleled commitment integrity, authenticity, humility, and love.
He always puts people first; lives to make a difference, not to make money; he is always himself; expressed gratitude, rejects entitlement; has the will to be misunderstood and lonely for the right reasons.
I assume that he had made the commitment to live out those things, not because he saw them as a means to an end, but because he felt they were simply the right things to do.
Finally, I feel that Dawud Ibsa is a leader with moral authority, because he never granted himself the authority, but allowed the rest of us to see it, deny or grant him.
Summing up, in a shifting world, leaders with moral authority provide the foundation for others to build upon. Dawud Ibsa’s leadership, whether you agree with me or not, is a leadership worth its making and I am very proud to say it.