Leadership, governance and public administration training in countries emerging from conflict : a case study Burundi, Rwanda and Southern Sudan

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    Our research (2009)2 with public servants in Rwanda, Burundi and Southern Sudan points to the importance of training both leaders and managers for both democracy and socio-economic development. Public sector education and training rooted in constitutional and administrative law, sensitive to the history and culture of a specific country can enhance public sector leadership and management and enhance governance. A 2010 study by the United Nations also points to “ineffective leadership, weak governance institutions, inappropriate human resources, lack of mechanisms to engage citizens in public policy-making decisions and lack of or ineffective delivery of public services as some of the central causes of violent conflict”. The corollary therefore is equally important – that leadership steeped in the principles of democracy, accountability and transparency, secure in outreach to the community and respectful of the rule of law and the constitution are essential to avoiding a return to violence, avoiding stalled peace and ensuring effective post conflict reconstruction of the nation state. Essential to successful peace building, political and economic stability is a continuous, sustained and targeted approach to training and development of professional public servants in the public service. The latter in particular requires the immediate and effective transformation and training of conflict driven institutions into democratic institutions that are inclusive, responsive and representative. These in turn require leadership and vision steeped in a democratic ethos that promotes better governance, national integrity systems, respect for the rule of law including administrative law and the Constitution. Conventional debates about the leadership/management dichotomy are rooted in the more traditional literature and reflect the false dichotomies embedded in the argument that separates public administration and politics. At the heart of this debate is the argument that managers have subordinates and leaders have followers and at another level public administration is the preserve of managers who are appointed and politics is the preserve of leaders who are elected.