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Alternative Leadership: Choosing between waiting to be handed power through a transition or conquering it through self-determination

Alternative Leadership: Choosing between waiting to be handed power through a transition or conquering it through self-determination

Quintiliano Afonso Belo, M.Sc.

The discussion on power transition began when Xanana Gusmão handed over leadership to the younger generation led by Rui Maria Araújo. This decision was unanimously supported by parliamentary representatives at that time. The memorable declaration by the CNRT representative in support of Xanana Gusmão’s government, “once we row, two or three islands will be achieved,” still resonates with many, conveying a clear message. However, it appears that this statement was merely a facade for a trial-and-error transition. The decision was more of a test than a concrete plan for the future. Power transition was not the primary focus, but rather a means to gain popularity through rhetorical speeches on the political stage.

While the new generation must acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of previous generations, especially the historic leaders who initiated and upheld the principles of the struggle for independence, they must also recognize the sacrifices made. These sacrifices included losing family members to achieve the dreams of a people who preferred death over living under oppressive rule. The spirit of the struggle lives on in the words of Former President Nicolao Lobato, “the final bullet is my victory.” This transitional discourse serves as a justification for the actions taken in the political arena to gain legitimacy from the people and the government. This discourse, which began in the past, continues to influence the new generation, leading them to believe in illusions rather than facing reality. The new generation is constantly challenged to reconcile their ideals with the harsh realities of the world, often choosing to ignore the truth and pursue their own imagination. This disconnect from reality hinders their progress and political legitimacy in society, as they prioritize their own interests over the greater good.

Reflecting on these issues, I pose a simple question: should we aspire to be alternative leaders in Timor-Leste by waiting for a rational transition or by taking control of our own destiny? This question prompts all patriotic Timorese to consider the merits of a smooth transition versus seizing opportunities for change. The critical juncture in Timor-Leste’s history, marked by the aging of historical leaders, necessitates a shift in leadership to the younger generation. The reluctance of historical leaders to engage in constructive dialogue about the nation’s future highlights the urgency for new, dynamic leadership. The younger generation must rise to the occasion, facing challenges head-on and forging their path to a brighter future for Timor-Leste.

As Timorese citizens, we must recognize the need for collective progress and not rely solely on individual leaders. The younger generation cannot afford to wait for empty promises or illusions; they must take charge of their future. The older generation’s reluctance to relinquish power and embrace change impedes the nation’s development and modernization. The new generation must assert themselves, offering fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to navigate the complexities of a rapidly changing world. By conquering their fears and embracing the challenges ahead, the new generation can pave the way for a more resilient and prosperous future for Timor-Leste.

In conclusion, the time for action is now. The younger generation must not be deterred by the romanticism of the past but must forge ahead with determination and courage. By seizing opportunities and embracing change, they can chart a new course for Timor-Leste, free from the constraints of outdated ideologies and partisan politics. The future of Timor-Leste rests in the hands of its youth, who must rise to the occasion and lead with vision and integrity. Let us not be swayed by empty promises or political rhetoric but instead, let us empower ourselves to create a better future for all Timorese.

Quintiliano Afonso Belo, M.Sc.
IGEADI Former Executive Director and National Director of Procurement, Ministry of Public Works, Timor-Leste
Phone: +67077584597 WhatsApp: +67078490900

 

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