Everything is set for a snap election before the end of the year. The two main Alliance blocks are already in the starting stalls for the imminent electoral race. The electoral campaign has already started and the political grounds will soon be intensively active, with the politicians doing their traditional door to door walking tours with all sorts of promises to the people. The Politicians will come with their usual feast of fixing blame on their opponents to deviate attention from their wrong doings, whilst forgetting that their opponents of today were only recently their partners and allies.
The Politicians will come and impress on the people, their pledge of proximity with their constituents and as usual after the elections, will vanish and nowhere can they then be seen. The Politicians will come with their manifesto/program which they promise to deliver and yet are unable to justify the poor deliverables of the plebiscited program of their last mandate, whilst avoiding to talk on the various scandals which have rot the system and affected the performance of public services. They will demonstrate as always, their skills to avoid those matters with the same energies that they were vehemently denouncing now long ago and now without any embarrassment, they are relegating these, as things of the past to the dismay of the people.
The people were disillusioned for almost a year or so, by both the Government and the opposition who colluded in the corridors of power to join forces in order to put on hold the normal workings of the National Assembly. They went behind the curtain and at the back of the people to concoct an alliance between them, delivered after so many “ON/OFF” modes and to devise a power sharing semi-presidential system ,serving mainly individual interests. The economy was at a standstill with the people reduced as mere spectators of this “ON/OFF” shows, helpless with their daily miseries increasing alarmingly. The people cannot stand to be the loser again. Whatever powerful vision will the different contenders will come forward with, whatever blame they will come to discredit each other and whatever methods they will use to play with people’s emotions and arouse the divisive forces to serve selfish interests, the people in its great majority, expect from the Politicians that they take firm commitments to work for the common interests of the people.
The Politicians are expected to respond to the wants of the people in all transparency and accountability rather than satisfying their own selfish interests. We need to make them accountable through regular feedback mechanisms with a view to keeping politicians close to electorate’s demands with a high degree of fulfillment. The people are not party to promote instability and uncertainty, but rather expect that in the future, conditions be created for collective responsibility and discipline to promote actions to live up with the promise to provide a better living to the people in general.
The people will not let their trust to be betrayed this time. People’s sufferings as manifested by high unemployment rate, job insecurity, low wages, inefficient bureaucracies, socio-economic inequalities, poverty increase, alarming social crime rates and corruption are those among many others which require the urgent attention of the policy makers to change for the better, the life of the people in general. The people have had enough of those vague slogans and promises to fool and confuse people, meant as vote catching techniques, whilst the doings are but the contrary. The People’s expectations are thus:
UNITY & MERITOCRACY: We want a country as one nation with shared values and purpose , where merit comes before privilege , where it is governed in such a way as to bring all the components of the society together , where the diversity of origins and cultures are pooled together to unite. No arbitrary obstacles should prevent people from achieving positions which their talents fit and which their values lead them to seek. There is a general impression that special interest groups be it political, socio-ethnical and economic have much more power and the public has too little in the governing process. As a consequence, the power and greed of the privileged few win over the needs of the people in general. There has been an intensification of the presence of those privileged specific interest groups in the proximity of political power to press their selfish demands and sow the seeds of division wherever necessary to prevent actions for the common good. The people are outraged about the rising power of those specific groups who have a growing influence to exercise unfair lobbies to make policy decisions sway in their favour at the expense of the common good. The challenge to build Unity will depend largely on the capacity to curtail the influence of those specific groups in the decision-making process with a view to creating more democratic space for justice, meritocracy and fairness. There will be more democracy only if the people see the expansion of the government powers as the expansion of their powers.
MORE TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY- Truthfulness is an integral part and obligation of a modern democracy claiming to be transparent and accountable. It is thus worth exploring the cleansing of the political class of those “ lame ducks “ who use politics as an investment for their own greed, for self-enrichment and for own enjoyment at the expense of the well-being of the people. The challenges are the responsibility of the political leaders to define the profile and criteria for sustaining the quality of people in their team who pays true service to the people , nominating the right persons in the right place with visible measurable key performance targets and sanctioning those not fitting the profile anymore. Public declaration of assets from senior Public officials, ministers, parliamentarians, municipal and District councilors and senior executives of parastatals as well as their spouses, children and families should be a reality, not only to foster transparency but most importantly to deter any improper accumulation of wealth and measure the accretion of wealth whilst in office. Democracy will be strengthened if the need and importance of free and responsible media for more avenues of information, knowledge and forums where ideas, opinions and issues are discussed and debated, are recognised. In this context, the TV media should be liberalised under the same parameters as the Radio. Conversely, tyranny will gain ground wherever dissenting views are stifled, unilateral decisions without the input of the people are made and access to information is barred
ECONOMIC EQUALITY: The people will like to see how we will build the future employment opportunities to create jobs, prevent job losses and give security to all the young talents entering the labour market, how we will tackle the division and inequality in our society to reduce the wide disparities between the haves and have-nots , eliminate extreme poverty levels , guarantee equal opportunities for all. The people will like to see how we develop modern quality education and health services to eliminate any gaps which may exist between the public and private sectors. We need to depart from the neo-liberal policies which favour more a growth of a philosophy of individualism at the expense of collective concerns.Consequently, these are creating nevertheless conditions which have made the poor poorer, the rich richer with the benefit of economic growth concentrated only in the hands of a few. As wealth floods upward into the hands of those very few rich category, the size of the crumbs falling downwards will increase , widening further the inequality of the wealth distribution between the “haves” and the “have nots”. Whilst the few rich upper class can afford to have the sky as their limit, the vast majority of the population are seeing the sky only through glass ceiling, living still under illusion.
The people will cast their choice more on a system which will provide the enabling conditions to promote unity as a nation, to reward merit, to favour transparency and accountability and last but not least, provide more equality. This is where the people will find more tangible impact on the quality of their life. For this to happen, the people know more than anything, Democratic stability is imperative and cannot be put at stake for any reasons.