Parse Rigo Beya is a rare individual. Although not tall in stature, his character, courage, and moral strength is towering. As a committed Christian lawyer, Parse has charted a remarkable path of professional and personal integrity through some very trying circumstances. When I think of influential Christian leaders who are challenging the status quo of corruption and graft, and are charting a new path in Africa, it’s Parse who comes to mind.
A gifted writer and ongoing student, he was part of the first cohort of MAOL students in 2005. I have been privileged to journey with him over the last 8 years, including inviting him to share a remarkable story with students in the Ethics for Christian Leadership course this last August. Parse was representing a client who was in dire circumstances, but still had title to a property in the downtown core of the city. The powers that be, including a very influential politician, had conveniently re-worked the papers to modify the title of the land in order to purchase it. Finding out about this, Parse intervened and demonstrated that his client still had legal title to the property. This led to a series of events where Parse was presented by the influential politician with a very rewarding offer of 20 % of the value of the property to simply walk away from his client! This amount would have been the equivalent of the entire yearly revenue of his cabinet (firm)! He had strong proof that the politician was trying to corrupt him and considered exposing the situation and pursuing the individual in the courts, but his wife did not have peace with that, so he settled with protecting his client and confronting the individual, emphasizing that he could not be bought.
Such a stance further builds his reputation in the country, and with that comes a cost. He realizes that government legal contracts (the most lucrative) will likely be fewer and farther between because of his stance. He has had to diversify his portfolio and his investments as a result. But Parse shared with the class that such a price is nothing compared to holding to his high standard, and bringing honor to the One whom he serves. He realizes as well the younger lawyers articling at his firm are also looking to him, as do many others in the legal profession.
There is a generation of leaders that God is raising up in Africa who are charting a different course. And the MA in organizational leadership is playing a remarkable role in providing resources and encouragement to men such as Parse.
About the Author: Dr. Barry Whatley has been facilitating regularly in the DAI MAOL program since it began in French speaking Africa in 2005. Barry is an educator and church consultant with Outreach Canada. He continues to relish opportunities to journey with men such as Parse.