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Opinions of Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Columnist: Akwah, Nana

The Irony of Political Dishonesty or The Dirty Side Of Politics

The campaign period of candidates to the national and local elections has just begun. With the announcement of the "Free SHS" policy by the President the stage is set for the rampaging sight of the dirty side of politics and the irony of political dishonesty.

The hallmarks of virtuous democracy, Independence and nationhood are now shrouded in divisiveness and discord of incredible proportions: stymied in the politics of naked ethno-centrism, political mischief and unbridled selfish ambition.

Many personalities coming from the different sectors in society, and belonging to the different political groups, have joined in, and everybody has a burning desire to get elected and become leaders of their respective constituents. Opposing camps, with its eager candidates, as well as supporters, have started launching its political campaigns, mobilizing its political machineries, and are about implementing its prepared strategies. Even though and as always, this political exercise is generally characterized as exciting, thrilling, colorful, and festive but is incongruent to truth.

In reality a political campaign, launched within the allowed time frame, is a proper and appropriate tool for the candidates to present their respective credentials, plans, and platforms to the electorate this should be done with ethics, decency, modesty, respect, and humility on the contrary the reverse is usually the case.

On the other hand it is a platform for the voter to decide. It is also an opportune time for the voters to scrutinize very well all the candidates and be able to come up with the right choices for the different elective posts. But, unfortunately, many, if not all, candidates resort to dirty tactics just to advance their selfish personal interests. Many seasoned and well-known politicians usually says, “In politics there are no permanent friends, nor permanent enemies, only permanent interests.”

The disheartening aspect of this phenomenon worthy of note, is that, at the start of the campaign period, or even before it could actually start, opposing political parties hurl degrading and derogatory remarks at each other, and even going to the extent of hitting below the belt, figuratively speaking. This is usually done with the ulterior motive of discrediting and maligning the opponents, putting them in bad light, in order to solicit sympathy and eventually get the nod of the majority of the voting public, a perceived favorable option to ensure the victory of their respective candidates.

Sometimes, it is really very hard to understand why character assassination has become the name of the game during the election period, and worse, it has already become a common practice or tradition among almost all politicians to the detriment of society, in general.

The impact is that almost everybody, the candidates, the supporters, the sympathizers, and even the on-lookers seem to be judging each other, leading to an atmosphere of prejudice, hatred, distrust, dishonesty, pretention, deceit, and treachery. The devastating effects of these incidents include the deterioration of treasured values, as well as the destruction of the sacred relationships within the families.

As a way of reflection, we should be reminded of the biblical account of a woman taken in adultery in the very act. In that story, the woman was brought by the Pharisees before Jesus, who was preaching to the people in the temple at the Mount of Olives. The Pharisees were actually trying to tempt Jesus by reminding Him of an Old Testament law that commanded that such offense by the woman should be punished by stoning. They further asked Him what He could say about it. Without repudiating the law, Jesus answered them saying, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” After hearing Jesus, the Pharisees and the rest of the people around, being convicted by their own conscience, went out and away one by one leaving Jesus alone with the woman. Now, with nobody condemning the woman, Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn thee, go, and sin no more.” ( John 8:1-11 ... King James Version )

We should be reminded further that when we judge other people, we are judging ourselves also and, of course, we do not like this to happen, therefore we should refrain from doing it because, in the first place, to judge is not our business. “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” ( Matthew 7:1-2 ... King James Version )

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it". Martin Luther King, Jr.

Politics is a system of governing a political entity such as a nation, the administration and control of its internal and external affairs. Election is a political exercise of choosing persons for political offices. Although it may not be perfect, politics is good and healthy. But, it has been tagged through the years as a dirty game because the way it is being played by many is really dirty.