By: Winstanley.R.Bankole Johnson
Even as far back as two weeks ago, millionaire businessman Donald Trump was already at pole position to clinch the Republican Party nomination for the November 2016 US Presidential elections. That by all indications placed former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Rhodam Clinton as the presumptive next President of the USA after the same impending elections – by default.
As at last Friday 6th May, the Voice of America (VoA) reported on deep resentment and disenchantment at the previously unimaginable successes of Mr. Trump within their own Party, to the extent that even die-hard Republicans were threatening to vote Democrats.
A ripple effect is that prominent Record Label-endorsed Artists, key among whom is the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger has not only publicly towed the same line, but have gone as far as instructing the Trump campaign handlers to desist from using some of their sound tracks as part of their campaign theme songs. Indeed, the general resentment at Trump ever attaining such a political limelight is so widespread, that it left a VoA presenter to conclude as follows-:
“The race for the Presidency of the United States of America has ceased to attract serious-minded people. The people of America deserve better choices”
Read the above statement over and over again……..Ruminate over it for a few minutes……And tell me with utmost sincerity which particular country comes to your mind, and in which the political arena has long ceased to attract serious-minded people….And where by the present scheme of things the citizens do not desperately deserve better choices of representation in virtually all areas of governance?
But before whispering your answers to yourselves, let’s digress a bit to examine what prompted the audacity, nay temerity of hope in Donald Trump – a reported four-time self declared bankrupt to gun for the sublime office of the President of the United States of America?
In this life, and whether in Africa or among the continents, we have seen how once wholesomely stable systems of civilizations have crumbled and collapsed on account of the incumbency of just one individual at the head of governance.
So could it be that the incumbency of Obama – a black man – as President of the United States has watered down the relevance of, and interest of much more sober-minded than Mr. trump into the Oval office?
And by extension could a Trump Presidency signal the decline (and collapse) of the once powerful United States of America, just like we read about the Egyptian, Roman, Mesopotamian and even the Songhai Empires?
But so much for Mr. Trump. Let’s get back to my concern as to why the people of whichever country was your answer deserve better choices in political representations and some of the reasons engendering political apathy amongst the elite or “sober-minded”, homing particularly on this our land that we love. First to our “un-sober” choices.
Our late political legend, Siaka Probyn Stevens saw it coming a long time ago and in the mid-eighties openly warned that persistent political apathy or indifference by the elites or “sober-minded” of this country would one day result in recidivists and “Ra-ray” boys flooding our political arena that could result in a dearth of quality decisions and policies.
His worry was that in the event serious issues were required to be voted upon, they would not be able to fairly and squarely rationalize them but would rather vote on account of various parochial ethno-regional sentiments to the detriment of the entire country.
And by Jove are we not already there? Otherwise how come, despite government’s sustained efforts at our transformation, there is so much evidence of social degradation?
If things continue the way they already are, we cannot be far away from having our own local versions of Donald Trump for even the highest political office in this land!!
I believe the responsibility for reversing this degenerative nose dive rests squarely on the leadership of the various political parties and the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), who are to agree on principled guidelines that only candidates drawn from amongst the “sober-minded” such as Property Owners, Town and City Rates Payers or businessmen and women of repute are fielded under their respective party colours.
The present pattern of going only for the crowd has never, and will never be helpful, because as we quite know even in a democracy, great numbers are not always beneficial.
And the hardest hit amongst the regions is the entire Western Area, where those with the ability to muster lawless crowds to persistently confront and ridicule law enforcement agencies and who are not even fit to work as Cleaners in the Local Tribal Courts in their villages of birth but are on the payroll of mainstream politicians, now deem themselves eligible to sit as Councilors.
That’s why instead of actually concentrating on core Council administrative duties, the Decentralization Secretariat (DEC-SEC) have had to be conducting regular (but meaningless) workshops for them after every election cycle, to teach them virtually everything, including basic institutional governance techniques.
And that’s why all our Councillors are now Specialist Lands Surveyors in their own right, indiscriminately disposing even the minutest available land space wide enough to just stand up and urinate.
But the Dec-Sec is no doubt enjoying the fray, because the more rustic the new Councillors’ intake, the slower the decentralization processes and the more money they (the Dec-Sec) can amass for themselves at the expense of civilization.
And instead of blaming ourselves for the ensuing rot, we wrongly ascribe blame to the Councillors (most of whom carry aliases – “Or-Lormeh!” “Or-Yankra!” “Or-Bomneh!!”) for their none performances. But did they allocate symbols to themselves in the first place?
And where else in the civilized world do sections of the political class pride themselves on their aliases? And we expect them to perform??
Now let me address the three main reasons for political apathy among the sober-minded in this country to wit: (a) Discrimination (b) Greed (c) Corruption.
They are all inter-linked and none can be addressed independently.
A “Revolution” knows how to kill and frustrate its own at the very early stages of assuming power.
Those that brought them into power are fed on slogans, even as they grudgingly watch the new comers with less than two years sycophantic membership into the party cruising around in luxurious 8-Cylinder 4×4 Jeeps, building multiple luxurious homes, accessing and monopolizing all foreign business trips and scholarships for their children and paramours.
Greed and corruption soon predominate their psyche.
Their appetite for everything becomes insatiable and as with many Pentecostal Pastors, they and only they are manifesting the outward and visible manifold Graces of God.
The loyal and sober-minded are expected to thrive by propagating the empty Gospel and mysticism of the “glorious” Party as handed down by the founding fathers.
To attempt to question them is to risk being branded “unpatriotic”, “disgruntled” or of displaying “Anti-Party” activities. And it is precisely to avoid being so categorized, that the “sober-minded” begins to exhibit concealed symptoms of a disease called “Political Party Affiliation Withdrawal Syndromes” (PPAWS), as the opportunity and forum to discuss or share genuine party concerns with the Party leadership hierarchy gradually crumbles and disappear.
The most dangerous thing about this disease is that its symptoms are latent, “diagnosable” only by the National Electoral Commission and the PPRC, by which time it is invariably already terminal, leaving only “non-sober” minded choices akin Donald Trump in the arena.
Like the Americans, the people of this country deserve far better choices of representation from the next elections onwards than we seem to be getting, and the correct time to right the past wrongs and re-strategize in all political parties is NOW.