What Hon. Halifa Sallah Needs

Sheriff Kora’s article [The Broken Gavel – Halifa Sallah v Mariam Denton] is a brilliant one and up to the point. The key words in recent behavior manifested in the National Assembly are lack of “emotional intelligence” as indicated in the article.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize self emotional feeling while positively recognizing other people’s perspectives without being disruptive and condescending. Hon Halifa Sallah’s behavior clearly exhibited his lack of emotional intelligence. He wasn’t diplomatic in his approach and clearly his questions and lack of understanding of the Finance Minister’s responsibility were indeed embarrassing, to call spade nothing but a spade. Lack of emotional intelligence usually manifests itself in a form of self righteous belief or superior intelligence. Being emotionally intelligent is the key to successful human communication because it enables individuals to empathize, listen attentively and engage in reflective conversations or discussions. Communications that bring desired results.

Leaders who are emotionally intelligent tend to be humbled and flexible because they listen attentively and care about other people’s perspectives. They are endowed with cultural awareness and better understanding of institutional norms and values. Going by college basic leadership and communication class syllabus, the  behavior exhibited by Hon Sallah clearly fails the test. One thing that makes communication a necessity is the human being’s ability and willingness to listen, extract chaff from the wind and communicate back. Halifa’s behaviour in parliament indicates his lack of patience to listen to others. This could also be evidenced in his history of engagement with people particularly, his fellow politicians. In PDOIS, Mr Sallah is the only one who does all the talking while everyone listens as if he has a better style of communication or knows more than anyone else. It is typical of Mr. Sallah to slice and dice or ramble over the same issue endlessly. He continues to manifest the same behavior at the National Assembly and other public engagements. I wasn’t surprised by his disruptive behavior when he wasn’t satisfied with the answers being provided by Minister Amadou Sanneh. It was very interesting to see the Hon. Minister being calmed and collected while showing emotional intelligence.

In the end, it was soothing to see Mr. Sallah take a deep breathe, acknowledge and own his disruptive behaviour. All the brouhaha could have been avoided had Halifa tweaked his mindset by spicing up his emotional intelligence.

The Law 1 of 48 Laws of Power written by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers quoted below provides us the wisdom.

“Never Outshine the Master.

Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please or impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite – inspire fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power.”




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  2. Again I qualify the exchange in the assembly plenum as a heated debate on substance- all geared towards ensuring that the nations wealth ( tax money, aid, grants, gifts and loans etc) are not only managed efficiently but most crucially, those wealth are sourced responsibly and expended transparently. In the midst of such debates – which need to be encourage across the assembly plenum, emotions may flare up or misunderstandings may crop in or issues not clearly communicated.

    To accuse or rather dismiss someone in the assembly as lacking “emotional intelligence” for raising or rather insisting on answers, is cheap slander.

    We may not be of the same political leaning as Hon. Sallah, but a broadened thinking dictates that we sharply differentiate between the issue under discussion in the assembly that characterised the aforementioned episode and other general politicking that occurs outside.

    UDP parliamentarians, even though in majority, have seen this difference and acted accordingly. For this reasoning, I think the broad cross section of their voters are grateful. For we do not want to emulate Jammeh’s tactics of silencing critics. Critism help us be reflective of our actions and they are a necessary companion. Let’s continue to deliver for our people while accepting critic as part of nation building.