With elections around the corner, there is a lot of mudslinging happening at the moment. Each political party is hell bent not only to make the others look bad, but to make themselves look even better. Yet I ask myself what is the point of calling each other names for the sake of a vote? Why can’t political parties campaign in a way that does not degrade a person’s character, with a vision that is beyond an individual or party, but will in fact impact the entire nation? Do they not realise that their behaviour pushes people away from engaging in political issues? Or was that the plan all along?
If that’s the case, then it works out well for the politician, because it will be easier to campaign amongst that small group of people you know than a bigger group. This would mean it is easier to starve off others who desire to be elected, as they do not have the core support of the population. However, the sad thing about people turning their backs on politics is that apathy grows and the system of governance is not trusted, which undermines those who actually do want to make a difference. This puts our nation’s democracy on very shaky ground.
An example is the current hate speech trial against ANCYL president Julius Malema. It seems Malema does not care what impact his behaviour is having on the nation, as long as the ANC remains the ruling party, he does not seem to care about anything else. He says he is fighting to preserve the history of the struggle songs, yet he does not seem to want to engage AfriForum in a manner that will allow for proper dialogue, something that his party regularly promotes. Instead, he is accompanied by bodyguard with automatic weapons, something that even the country’s president does not do. Why does he make himself seem more important that President Zuma?
At the same people are busy singing songs outside the courtroom supporting Malema, some claiming that it is part of their culture to sing these songs. Most of them, however, don’t even understand why they are there; they are just going along for the ride and hoping to be on TV. Besides the agenda that AfriForum may have, how does Malema‘s behaviour impress upon us to trust him? And why would he use Mandela’s health as a reason to vote for the ANC? That is a nonsensical way of thinking.
Our political climate is shaping the landscape of our nation very rapidly. We need men and women of strong political commitment, who will rise up and lead our nation. People who will not be afraid to step up and bring forth a vision that will bring our country together while we aim for it. Someone who will be able to put people like Malema in their place, giving us back the sense of leadership and pride in our country, and not embarrassing us on an international scale.
When political ambition clouds the truth, the one who is deceived will have a rude awakening one day, not knowing what happened. If we let our opportunity to change this country go to waste, not only will we regret it, but our children will also feel the effects of it on their lives. Just like the legacy of apartheid we see each day in our country.
Let’s try to make these elections about our country, not about the politicians.