The core responsibility of the politician is to implement social reforms and policy measures that add to the general welfare of the masses. It is therefore expected that any politician will be honest, God fearing and loving. While some are reliable and trustworthy, make promises and keep promises, most of our politicians allow external influences to sway their believes and decisions. Their lips are sealed on pecuniary benefits accruing from the national resource but their speeches are Semitic when it comes to the basic benefits of the citizens.
Globally, illusory speech is a recurrent theme, what we see is the voice of Jacob and the hands of Esau; Africa is not an exception as we often hear: “’Ladies and gentlemen, I believe I was prepared by the Creator to fight against tribalism and nepotism. I have loved the ideal of fairness all my life. I am here to offer myself to you. I am here to make all things that have being lopsided like a snake and curved like question to be straightened.
It is great honour to lead my people. Before this election, I have fantasised about becoming the president of this great country and have anticipated how I was going to give my inaugural speech.
Now, I am at the podium, my dream is realised and the people are expecting me to deliver what I have promised. Reflecting on the past regime, I would say, politicians have let the people down. Now is the liberation time. Now is the time for change we have all being waiting for.
If you remember some decades ago, a dollar is the same as our currency but today the gap is as huge as planet and our currency has lost its value. I have come to cover the pit of sadness dug for us to perish; I have come to set a new record for good governance. I have come to offer hope for the hopelessness. I have come to offer an access bridge to those who have being locked out on the other side of the river.
I cannot do this alone without everybody. Looking back at my early stage, it was quite uneasy. I had to trek to the stream to fetch water with my mom; I had to trek barefooted to the farm to bring food for the family. I had to hawk on the streets to give support to my dear mother. I have therefore learned how to hold hunger from beating me to death.
All these are quite uncomfortable experiences that will allow me to remember my humble beginning and give a good life to my people that expect so much from me…”
Great speech, but the questions are: How do we differentiate lying and genuine campaign promises? How do voters hold their leaders responsible for what is termed free speech? How will citizens know politicians’ speeches are significantly woven to cow them? How will the voters seek the truth about a candidate vying for top position in the government?
Hmm, it will require a binocular to look for pieces of legislation that touch this issue holistically. It is a fact that when a lie is conceptualised, its conceptual cousin, falsehood, will stand in its defense. I am not sure there are firm rules for honest political conduct in our constitution. I am not sure there are laws protecting the public from political deception.
If there are, then why are our politicians not punished for making half-truth statements and election campaign promises? I suggest we look at how our law makers can amend our constitution in respect of party manifestoes and their campaign promises. This will force them to tell the truth and make do their promise. The general public will be safer and much more informed.
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