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Opinion: What is the role of a County Commissioner? 

Case study of Ayod County of Jongeli State, South Sudan

By Ter Manyang Gatwech, Juba, South Sudan,

Executive Director of the Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) Ter Manyang Gatwech (Photo credit: SSNN)
Executive Director of the Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) Ter Manyang Gatwech (Photo credit: SSNN)

Feb 28, 2021(Nyamilepedia) — March 1st 2021 (Juba) -Ayod County is located in the northwest part of Jonglei State and comprises of five Payams: Ayod, Mogok, Pajiek, Pagil, Kuachdeng and Wau.  Ayod County and its environs are inhabited by Gawaar Nuer. It has a population of 139,282 people as per South Sudan Household Census of 2008. 

The Ayod County commissioner is not only sets policy but is also responsible for its implementation. Commissioner is the chief executive of the county organization. The precise roles include; Providing direction, working with people, achieving results, enabling change, using resources and managing your time and personal skills.

Leadership 

In public administration.  The ‘term leadership’ is difficult to define. The dictionary states that it is the ability to command. People sometimes look at it as the ability to point the way toward success. Both of these points of view however are too limited for the reality of world politics today.

Leadership is the ability of a person to organize and direct human effort toward the attainment of an objective. Those who see politics today as their ways for survival, they must have Plan B in place because “Government is a tool not ends – like a hummer, it can build and it can be destroyed”. 

Leadership is practiced in many ways in today’s world of politics.  Most differences depend on the capability and the philosophy of the leader.  In general, there are four methods of leadership, which you should understand.  These are (a) Command leadership, (b) Consultative leadership, (c) Charismatic leadership, and (d) Creative Leadership.

Consultative leadership differs from Command leadership in that the leader still has the power to hire and fire, but he tempers his approach to a problem by seeking out the opinions, advice and recommendations of his people.  He then takes this counsel and decides on the course to take.

In Charismatic and Creative leadership the power and authority to hire and fire are within the leader’s scope. However, a Charismatic leader has the type of personality that generates feeling of love, respect, and commitment in other people. Creative Leadership manages his operation through the force of his ability to devise unique methods and approaches, to see ideas, and formulate original concepts. 

In self- indulgent and materialistic cultures, the idea “if it is good for me it is good for everyone” this could be the case of Ayod County?  For instance, the recent appointments of the state’s ministers, advisors, independent Commission and county commissioners, by President Salva  Kiir and  First Vice President Dr.  Riek Machar.

Gawaar used to sit and take tea at station Yei under a tree called “Gawaar Pyramid” (tress) with two groups. Gawaar were having two groups, I term this as intellectual humility and intellectual ignorance. Gawaar Community had four candidates contesting for commissionership of Ayod County. The candidates were; 

  1. Hon: Khan Elijah 
  2. Hon: Nin Chany 
  3. Hon: James Chuol Jiek 
  4. Hon: Nyang Thiciot   all are from SPLM Party/ ITGoNU.  However,  the rest were dropped at the early stage  

The Humility intellectual and intellectual defined as having a consciousness of the limits of one’s knowledge, including sensitivity to circumstances in which one’s native egocentrism is likely to function self- deceptively. This entails being aware of one’s biases, one’s prejudices, the limitations of one’s viewpoint, and the extent of one’s ignorance.  Humility and intellect depend on recognizing that one should not claim more than one actually knows.  It does not imply spinelessness or submissiveness. It implies the lack of intellectual pretentiousness, boastfulness, conceit, combined with insights into the logical foundations, or lack of such foundations, of one’s beliefs. 

The opposite of intellectual humility is intellectual ignorance, lack of consciousness of the limits of one’s knowledge, with little or no insight into self- deception or the limitations of one’s point of view. Intellectually ignorant people often fall prey to their own bias and prejudice, and frequently claim to know more than they actually know.

When we think of intellectual ignorance, we are not necessarily implying a person who is outwardly smug, haughty, insolent, or pompous. Outwardly, the person may appear humble.

 For example, a person who uncritically believes in a cult leader may be outwardly self- effacing (“I am nothing. You are everything)”, but intellectually he or she is making a sweeping generalization that is not well founded, and has complete faith in that generalization.

The role of County Commissioner is based around six key areas of leadership and management

Providing direction– as an effective County Commissioner you will be required to:

  • Maintain Peace and Security in the County.
  • Supporting Community initiatives 
  • Lead by example to promote a culture of peace, unity in the County. 
  • Create a vision for the future development of the County that takes into account the strategic objectives of Youth Associations, Women and Elderly people
  • Develop a plan to realise the vision for the county, implement and regularly review it.
  • Provide leadership, inspiration and motivation for all people volunteering in the County.
  • Carry out regular one-to-one meetings and support adults who report directly to you.

Working with people– as an effective County Commissioner you will be required to:

  • Develop good working relationships with state government, NGOs, UN, civil society actors, business people, soldiers, youth, women, girls and other parties to the peace agreement.   
  • Manage succession planning and identify the roles that you need to make the County work effectively and recruit suitable people into those jobs.
  • Support people in the County Team to develop by completing formal training requirements, learning on the job, trying out new skills and addressing problems affecting performance.
  •  Build a team spirit in the County and support the development of the team as a whole.
  • Address conflict as it occurs within the County and reduce the likelihood of it happening through good communication and other methods.
  • Run effective team meetings in the County and participate fully in the County councilors, Executive and state meetings. 
  • Build and maintain collaborative relationships with other relevant organizations in the County’s local area.

Achieving results– – as an effective County Commissioner you will be required to:

  • Satisfactorily complete projects in the County for which you are responsible 
  • Ensure that all the initiatives in the County are managed appropriately
  • Ensure that there are appropriate processes in place within the County so that Scouting is delivered effectively to young people.
  • With the County Executive Committee and the County Team ensure that Scouting is promoted locally.
  • Build up an understanding of the young people in your local area and ensure that Scouting is promoted effectively to them, including focusing on their needs and expectations
  • Have a robust County development plan in place and regularly review progress
  •  Satisfactorily resolve problems and issues raised by adult and youth members of the County and by parents or careers of youth members in the County

Enabling change –  as an effective County Commissioner you will be required to: 

  • Support and encourage adults in the County to think of new and creative ways to improve Scouting within the County.
  • Be enthusiastic about new ideas, give constructive feedback on those ideas and encourage and support further work on them
  •  Communicate your vision for the future of the County and lead people through changes that this vision requires.
  • Develop effective plans to implement change and then carry them out, working together with relevant members of the County
  •  Recognize the contribution of others towards change and improvement.

Using resources – as an effective County Commissioner you will be required to:

  • As part of the County Executive Committee, ensure that appropriate financial measures are in place.
  • As part of the County Executive Committee, ensure that there is an adequate income for the County including the identification of other income sources such as grants.
  • Ensure that the health and safety of everyone involved in Scouting within the County is properly managed at all levels.
  • Work with the County Executive Committee and the County Team to ensure that the County has sufficient physical resources to support its work with youth members.
  • Make decisions about matters within the County based on the best available information.
  • Ensure that key knowledge within the County is properly managed and used to improve the operation of Scouting within the County.
  • Provide resources, support and encouragement for teams of volunteers within the County to work in many ways.

Managing your time and personal skills s – as an effective County Commissioner you will be required to:

  • Agree realistic goals and targets with the Central government, Governor for the development of the County that works towards The Scout Association’s strategic objectives.
  • Consider the future requirements of your role then identify the skills and knowledge that you need to develop or improve and the steps you will follow to do so.
  • Regularly check how you use your time and identify possible improvements so that you focus on the goals and priorities that you have agreed with the Governor in the state.
  • Attend National and state meetings, workshops and events for County Commissioners.

In conclusion 

So in the search for the perfect leader, we are seeking a gifted individual.  While the perfect leader may be non- existent, we should sum up the qualities such a person would have. First, he would be a man who can make good, fearless decisions. Second, he would be intelligent and knowledgeable. Third, he would have a deep understanding and concern for his people. Fourth, he would be fair and just. No man has all these leadership traits except God.

Mr. Ter Manyang Gatwech is a Dedicated Human Rights Defender, Community Developer and a Generation Change fellow at United State Institute of Peace, (2017) Dar es Salaam, Tanzania with keen interest in transitional justice, women’s rights, human rights, peacebuilding and evidence- based advocacy.

I am currently pursuing my Masters of Laws (LLM) Degree at Cavendish University in Uganda and I also hold Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration and Management majoring in good governance and human rights. 

You can reach me at ter.manyang1985@gmail.com or +211924538137 (WhatsApp)


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