By Lloyd Noel
We are into the second week of what promises to be a most historic and eventful year, in our political and drama-loaded public affairs.
The Xmas and New Year celebrations were somewhat low key – as though the people generally were holding back on their usual enthusiasm at this time of year, and just waiting for the expected drama and political excitement to come on stream in due course.
Even the statements and promises that came from the political contestants, in their Christmas messages to the people at large — these followed the same cool and carefully guarded range of well chosen words, quite unlike the speakers’ usual styles.
But I suppose they may all have been playing it cool, and saving the heat for the hectic months just around the corner.
The two frontline parties are encouraging people to get registered, so that they will be ready to cast their votes – should those who are now saying they will not be voting, change their minds nearer D-day.
And from all appearances it still looks as though only the two frontline parties are serious about entering a full team – and only two or three pretenders from the various breakaways making appearance.
Whatever the eventual numbers may be, the whole exercise promises a wide range of excitement and uncertainties, and people should ensure they are ready and able to cast their votes in the changing circumstances.
There is no doubting that a whole lot of people are very disappointed with the performance of the NDC get-together group that won so convincingly in July 2008, but failed to bring about the change that was promised back then.
And the worst part of that failure was that in-house fighting and disunity that put everything else on hold – for almost the past four years.
It is still not certain how many of the remaining six MPs will be facing the people for another term, and another nine new candidates have to be taken on board if the six remain – and that in itself is a serious challenge, because most of the names being mentioned are of people coming into the political arena for the first time, and time is very limited.
The get-together that promised so much change in 2008 was widely accepted by voters to produce the 11 to 4 majority in that election.
The promised changes were not achieved, and all the blame and accusations laid at the NNP administration, and its leader in particular, remain just that and nothing has been proven.
And it is that level of non-action by the winners back then, which has caused the ongoing frustration among the majority of voters who brought about the victory.
Their reaction to the infighting and disunity among the winners of 2008 is to boycott the coming polls later this year, by not even registering to be able to vote.
That state of affairs would be providing a ready-made victory platform for the NNP losers back then – because their supporters have remained loyal to the party leader, and they have gone ahead and registered to be able to cast their votes.
I can very well understand the frustration of those who voted for change, and for cleaning up the wrongdoings complained of before July 2008 – but if they genuinely believed so much malpractices took place in the said period, abstaining from voting at the next elections is definitely not the proper answer to the problems now facing our people and nation state.
The choices facing our people in the given circumstances are not very easy ones to unravel and decide upon overnight – but no one can truthfully say that he/she has not been aware of the happenings over the years, and how these have affected our people.
So it is against that background, that those who are able to cast their votes should make the decision to be registered and ready to do so.
And just as importantly in my view, should those who are thinking of staying away from the polling stations by not even registering to vote, after the next government has been elected, and the new controllers start repeating the wrongdoings of the past, those who have abstained would have no rights to say anything in opposition, but just suffer and take the hardships in silence.
The next few months before we go back to the polls to choose the next government for the following five years will be very critical, and we should all give the circumstances, and the possible resulting consequences our very special attention.
Because the results will affect us all – to abstain from voting and be faced with a result in any constituency where the margin of loss is so narrow that very few of those who stayed away could have made all the difference will trouble the defaulters for the next five years.
Now that the date is drawing closer and the contest between the candidates is getting hotter, the hope is that our people will realize their civic duties and responsibilities, and take the necessary actions to play their part in the business of their homeland.
A lot of people had plenty to say about the way the previous government handled the nation’s affairs – and quite a number also made their negative comments about the behaviour of many of those in the current government in the last two years or so; and there was nothing wrong with that state of affairs, because they were elected to serve the people and be accountable for their actions.
The upcoming elections will be the time for the people to really tell the candidates and the party as a whole how they feel about their behaviour and performance while they occupied the seats of power.
Failing to register, and refusing to vote on election day, is clearly not the way to tell them.