Fiji Time: 2:53 PM on Thursday 22 February

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Qualities of a good leader

Luke Rawalai
Friday, February 09, 2018

AT the age of 82 years, the traditional head of the Levuka clan in Nasasaivua, Kubulau, Bua, Emosi Maru is still working for the betterment of his people.

At a time when people his age would prefer the slower pace in life, Mr Maru said his responsibilities kept him on his toes.

Mr Maru says the secret to his long life is God who has been so good to him for the past 82 years of his life.

"I have lived to feel and see His goodness to me and my people. Recently I witnessed the opening of the new borehole in the village. This development made me a very proud leader," he said.

"With seven children, God has even spared me this far to allow me to see my great-grandchildren and great great-grandchildren.

"I had even witnessed the recent opening of the borehole water system in the village which is a big development for the people in the village because finding water in the past was a challenge.

"Looking after the welfare of more than 10 families — 62 villagers — is not an easy task at this age but I remind myself of my calling everyday."

Mr Maru said the biggest challenge he faced in his position was addressing and leading his people in an era of technological changes and one where development was an everyday thing.

"Development is good but it comes with challenges just as everything in this world always has its negative aspect," he said.

"It is these challenges that we as traditional leaders need to address and find strategies to address them.

"In my view, a good leader needs to learn to listen to his people and consider their opinions before making a decision because a solution taken today will have an effect on the future of everyone.

"Gone are the days when the chief will dictate everything while the villagers assented to whatever he said and decided."

Mr Maru said Fijians were already in an era where a small decision would make a vast change in the existence of a people and their clan.

"There have been talks about the introduction of village bylaws but these are only strategies made to maintain order in villages," he said.

"I believe that there is no need for village bylaws in villages because of our communal way of living.

"Our culture embraces hospitality, kindness and respect so people don't need laws.

"They will only need laws or regulations if they turn their back on our way of living and these values which are steeped in our culture."

Mr Maru said something lacking in villages nowadays was the ability of leaders to speak out and right a wrong when they see it happening.

"When leaders fail to correct a wrong, it always worms itself into the community and becomes an acceptable norm," he said.

"Most villages in the country are disorganised while villages are underdeveloped because leaders fail to talk to their own people.

"This is where I am different from other leaders because I speak and correct people when I see something wrong.

"I believe in the saying that all evil needs to triumph is for good people to say and do nothing."

Mr Maru said traditional leaders needed to speak up for the sake of their own people.

"If leaders do not speak up, they will be questioned by the Almighty to answer for not executing their duties when the situation called for it," he said.

"That would be an embarrassing legacy for a leader who is supposed to be setting an example for their people."

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