The newly elected President of France, Mr François Hollande, said and did a few things that have me impressed profoundly. In his inaugural speech, he said, I quote: “Je ne déciderai pas de tout, pour tous et partout.” What a sharp contrast to our political leaders who think that they are the best thing since sliced bread and that they are more apt to decide for us all the time or tell us how to run our life. If we decide not to acquiesce, we are labelled as gormless.
The other thing that the new President did, was to travel in an ordinary car without the usual elaborate trappings compared to the colossal sums of money spent on buying luxurious cars with all the modern gadgets for our lords and masters. Perhaps, there are salutary lessons for them, that is learn to be humble and accept that they don’t necessarily know best in all circumstances. It is deplorable to note that the opposition is allowing itself to be influenced and swayed by the leaders of the government on what should remain top of the political agenda at any given time. For example, the projected municipal and district council elections that have been delayed more than once, on somewhat spurious reasons at times, should have remained the priority of priorities yet the opposition talks about them in dispatches, much to the satisfaction of the government.
Whatever happened to electoral reforms, probably put away in hibernation by those in power and the opposition continues to talk about it episodically, instead of keeping in the forefront. No doubt there are also other important issues that should be in the limelight but are not because the government chooses to shift the focus on something else when the pressure becomes too much to bear and the opposition just follows suit.
One of the main problems of the opposition is that it does not have a shadow cabinet and the responsibility to talk about various themes falls squarely on the shoulders of the leader of the opposition at his weekly press conferences.
If it did have spokespersons for each of the major issues confronting the country, the government would be under relentless pressure to provide answers to burning questions. Instead, once the heat is on, the government can shift the attention to other matters and put the difficult ones on the back burner.
Until and unless, the opposition reviews its tactics, the government will continue to have a fairly easy ride and that includes a number of occasions when its performance can be termed as abysmal and full of choonisms (a new word in the vocabulary to signify ping clangers).
It is high time that the opposition review its modus operandi and make changes accordingly. This should apply whatever the political configuration is, that is should the government and the opposition swap places at the next general elections.