Using the economics of elections to revolutionize the electoral psyche in post-colonial Africa

Dear Editor

Kindly allow me to air my views regarding the following concerns:

During the colonial era indigenous people were given sub-standard education that qualified them to serve their colonial masters to establish and construct their own solid economic powerhouses.

Now that colonization is something of the past and that almost all of Africa’s countries have tested the flavor of independence, it grills one’s thoughts why several years after independence little has changed in some countries pertaining to socio-economic betterment.

Personally speaking with Mr.Matongela Robert Tapiso

It is as if the legendary adage of “jumping from a frying pot into the fire” has been implicated.

Many emerging and veteran African leaders have consistently fumed sarcastic words of reproof towards the than colonial masters for poor and failing socio-economic policies.

After several years of self rule many countries’ leaders are still haunted by colonial nightmares and hangovers while in fact they seem to be seen clutching the reigns of the state machinery.

Being at the helm of the country’s leadership one has nobody to blame but oneself, but in reality it is often leaders who are criticized for being unproductive and letting the country’s economy to be in a despicable state.

In this article the greatest weight of criticism is squarely leveled on the voters around which the choice of leadership evolves.

The contemporary voters should acknowledge from the onset that in Africa after the polls, there is always a scramble over the state and its resources.

This results in subsequent chronic economic and political paralysis.

The winners at the polls see this mandate as a means to punish the losers or to privatize state resources for themselves, as in their guided consciousness the winner takes all.

Such ill-conceived moves are from the bird’s eye point of view, which is only beneficial to the ruling elite, but may have devastating economic and humanitarian consequences.

The situation can even worsen if the same party is kept in power for a long period of time.

On a rather sour note, it should be understood that rulers and their parties do not keep themselves in power, as they find themselves in such positions at the behest of the electorate.

The citizens are blindfolded by fancy independence euphoria that often loses track of the direction and momentum of the economy, its’ tax systems and unemployment rate can ultimately and randomly retain the ill performing ruling elite in power.

What matters today is not the coining of catchy revolutionary words, the chronology of wars and successful combat missions accomplished but the zeal and tenacity of true leadership as the aforesaid cannot surely be consumed at the end of the day.

But if voters become selfish, lack vision, fear of the unknown, manifest poor judgmental and analytical faculties and wield guided schools of thought, similar faces can resurface year in and year out.

The crux of elections is to elect people on the basis of the promises made and how such promises are to be fulfilled. In short voters should be interested in how much the economy has improved during the tenure of the current presidency compared to the performance of the previous administration.

It is morally uncanny for leaders and their party circles to enrich themselves while the grassroots swim in abject poverty. Trends of this nature are prevailing in some countries.

Although voters may distinguish the gaps between the rich and the poor, acute income disparities, corruption going on unabated, the same personalities get recycled to create an unshakable dynasty.

Voters should understand that they are not doomed to poverty throughout their lifetime, and in order to prevent this, voters should fervently part ways with the laisez-fair system of acknowledging ill performing leaders.

In Africa underdevelopment and poverty should not be an excuse. Africa is said to be rich in inorganic and organic resources. In my mind the visual absence of such resources could be due to undetermined explorations.

In the nutshell underdevelopment is a direct result of careless monitoring by the citizens of a given country.

This said, monitoring is seen to occur when votes are cast. It is high time that leaders who tell voters to vote for them or vote for deaths or hunger are scrutinized.

Some leaders may even pronounce that if they are not elected voters get no grants at all.

This system is political corruption and has neo-colonial and pseudo-democratic elements.

Grants come from state resources not political party coffers. Little do voters know that their collective resources could be hijacked and turned into personal possessions if they fail to stand guard?

The rationale for this article can be dwarfed if the reader is not alerted of the economic indicators that dictate the occurrence of meaningful elections.

As stated earlier, leaders of different countries are put in power based on their promises and how they fulfill them. Promises are fulfilled if the real GNP or simply the economy grows, many jobs are created for all not for selected few, the national unemployment rate index is lowered and lastly if the tax rate is affordable.

The greatest indicator of unemployment is the nature of the tax. In countries where unemployment is high the tax paid is exploitatively high.

Next time one sees his or her tax contributions are breath-taxingly higher than normal, then it should be accepted that unemployment is steeply high.

Plans that lead to addressing these variables are crucial. It is therefore practically unwise for voters to re-elect an aspiring leader for presidency if the economy is weak and unemployment and tax rates are exceedingly high, unless voters do not care about their own lives and those of their neighbours.

Before electing someone to power his or her promises needs to be screened and his or her personal portfolio cross-examined.

If it is re-election time, then the nature of those accomplishments relative to the economic growth, unemployment lowering and tax mitigating measures need to be addressed and compared.

Elections should be transformed from just mere scenes that create luxurious and lavish lifestyles for the ruling elite to comprehensive scientific approaches that cater for all.

When the economy is in a slow decline and unemployment rate jumps sharply during one’s presidential tenure, these variables may make one lose the elections.

when the unemployment rate keeps on increasing without bounds, this now becomes an insidious mechanism that exploits and disadvantages the masses.

Let independence make room for independent choices that will positively affect the lives of citizens by creating more jobs to blossom the economy and reduce tax dues.

Let people who care for their own lives and those of the fellow poor people make meaningful choices for the better in order to choose leaders for all.

Citizens should move away from old practices and revolutionize the election business.

It should be understood that elections are not meant to just keep political parties in power regardless but should be used as means to improve the lives of all people regardless of political convictions, sex, tribe, geographical location and above all social standing.

Differentiated development can take a country nowhere and can surely derail national goal attainment. In fact power does not come from hurt but from truth.


The time for change is now!



Caption: Personally speaking with Mr.

Matongela Robert Tapiso





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