To be a leader, and lead people in a society is a huge responsibility that must be carried out with total care.
There are times that leaders go astray, because of their own will, and poor judgement on different occasions. When it is in politics, it is even acutely serious, because a politician is watched all the time by the voters.
The watching is because of expectations that they deliver as promised when looking for votes.
Late last year, a top politician Mr Per Sandberg of the Norwegian Progress Party -Fremskrittsparti, was accused by his colleagues in parliament, for having addressed them after a drinking spree during lunch break.
The criticism by his colleagues prompted media attention, and soon after, Mr Sandberg, a number two man in the party was a target for the journalists.
At the time, Mr Sandberg did his best to ignore the accusations by his colleagues, by saying he had just taken something small, and furthering his excuses on his actions by stating that, if what he had done was wrong, then he failed to understand why the parliament restaurant serves alcohol.
This is a very absurd argument, coming from one who leads the people. The fact that a restaurant inside the parliament building serves alcohol, does not necessarily mean that the politicians are free to party during lunch hours, when they are still at work. Blaming the restaurant for his drinking that day did not make things better. His own words in defence became inflammatory.
Sandberg may have thought that the media will stop the pressure. He was wrong. The pressure continued to the double, and he was forced to take three weeks sick leave on doctor’s advice.
Recently, he was interviewed by NRK – the Norwegian State Television, in his home area in Northern Norway. The purpose of the interview was to give him a chance to face the people, and speak about his behaviour, because he was aware the media is still watching and waiting for his return on duty.
His party decided that he was not going to do it alone, – the interview with the State Television Network, so they marshalled media coaches, and air lifted one party advisor on media affairs to guide him on what to say, and how to say it. The interview was to clean the air before he could come back to the capital. The party feared how the reception would be in the new year, when he shows up after the scandal that ended up forcing him to be on sick leave, up north far away from the aggresive media in the capital.
While explaining on TV about his behaviour in parliament, he did his best to ensure that the voters were able to understand his predicament, and probably may forgive him. He told the viewers that he had now decided to be serious in his work, and during the weekends he will be travelling to his wife in the north in order to spend more time with her.
He stated that he had realised the need for having to be “himself Per” and “relax with his family who supported him through the ordeal.”
By saying that he will be travelling home to the north every weekend, Sandberg may have thought that was a good idea, because the voters would like to have a representative who respects family values, and not one who drinks alcohol during lunch hours, only to embark on the important task of addressing the sober parliamentarians.
Immediately after the NRK interview was over, APN was conducted by a woman who has raised a concrete accusation against Mr Sandberg.
APN has now interviewed the woman in question, and due to the serious nature of the accusation, APN has decided to investigate the story further, and also to get time in order to contact Mr Sandberg for an interview in an effort to get his side of the story.
It is a sad story, and if true, it is bound to shake the party hierarchy, which is still new after the resignation of the long time strong party leader Mr Carl I. Hagen.
The party is now headed by Siv Jensen who took over the party leadership from Carl I. Hagen last year. Mr Sandberg is her deputy.
By Korir, African Press in Norway, APN, firstname.lastname@example.org