As conversations continue on elections and minority or majority government/executive, one has to be mindful that in the desire to govern, such discussions do not lose focus on what makes any government a government of the people. Energies dedicated to averting a minority government or thinking the majority has the right to govern, in absence of holding every government accountable to systems that will ensure good governance, continue to do this nation a disservice.
It is not advisable to think that if a political party does not secure the majority votes in the executive or the legislature, that party is incapable of good governance or the society should not hold it to such standards. It is equally not advisable to think that an opposition parliamentary majority, without executive control, prevents the society from making strides to secure good governance and hold the elected accountable.
If one were to examine other societies, such as our Caribbean counterparts that practise first-past-the poll or the USA model, we’ll find that they have had instances where the government has been formed with minority votes. The situation in which we found ourselves after the 2011 elections with the executive and presidency secured by minority votes and a divided executive and legislature, is a common feature in USA government. What is being lost sight of is the refusal to learn from other societies and the lack of will or commitment to make the most of what we have. Persons have found it easier and politically attractive to discuss why nothing can be achieved, rather than to strive to achieve.
The tyranny of the majority and the minority as seen practised in this society are enough evidence for us to recognise and acknowledge that the problem is not in the numbers or the laws, but in the failure to adhere to the systems, strengthen and deepen them where necessary, and hold elected officials accountable.
Perfect laws in a society where leaders have no regard for them and the people are not prepared to hold them to account will not ensure good governance. The political culture of finding reasons to not achieve, succeed or do right by the people is suffocating. The ones that are hurt the most are the rank and file, the venerable, the poor and dispossessed. Observing the stampede raises legitimate question as to whether this is about the people or about who can best cash in to further abuse the people’s trust.
As I write our parliament remains prorogued. Our opposition elected leaders have signed off on this travesty inflicted on the nation’s highest decision-making forum, as the PPP government runs amok with our tax dollars under cover of the president abusing his authority by putting on hiatus the nation’s constitutional oversight body. The president is still to lift the suspension of parliament, dissolve it and issue proclamations dissolving it and the Regional Democratic Councils. The opposition seems not to consider these travesties important enough to pay attention to and demand respect for our institutions.
Elections, we are told, will be held on 11th May. In the meanwhile laws, time-honoured principles and practices are being violated with impunity. There is this frenzy about political alliance and political campaigning as the nation’s vault is left wide open with no security, and the people witness an absence of clamouring to ensure this oversight, because 11th May for our elected officials has become more important than now. This date has become more important than safeguarding what we have now, that should there be an election on 11th May, regardless of which party secures the executive or who has control of the legislature, good governance is seen as a possibility.
What is being pointed out here is the abrogation of prudent management of the people’s business by their elected representatives, but who is listening or cares, be it the government or opposition?