15 Mar 2016

A Letter To My Parliamentary Candidate


Dear sir/madam,

The political season is here again and you are busy as usual thinking and planning creative ways to convince me to cast my vote for you. I know it is the season to start your 'charity' program of distributing rice, money, and, alcohol after they have sworn the necessary oaths. Well, it also happens to be the season of promises. Yes, promises! I believe you do not think I know most of these promises are vague and deceitful, right? Well, that is partially the import of this letter.

My Parliamentary Candidate, it has been said in the Holy Book that if you do good things to people, you should keep it private and God will bless you openly. So, if you helped anybody get admission into school do not come and tell me about it because I know it is not part of the qualities of a parliamentary candidate. If you helped people to get recruitment into the security forces with your influence and resources, let it remain private because you have a soft heart and not because you want votes to win elections.

My Parliamentary Candidate, if you come to sell your message to me, do not say you will develop the catchment area of the constituency if you win the election. You and I know that your work as a parliamentarian is not to act as a development agent, and I believe that. The development of the constituency is the role of the district assembly and the central government. Your job is to pass laws and scrutinize proposals in parliament. You are, therefore, far from the development you think you can use to deceive me to cast my vote of confidence for you. Therefore, you cannot construct the road. You cannot build a gutter or a bridge. You cannot also build a tertiary institution. You cannot extend the electricity grid to the next town. You cannot also build a school. So, stop the lies and vague promises.


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The other thing that disturbs me most is when you think you can buy my conscience with alcohol. I know alcohol intoxication is dangerous to my health according to researchers. I believe you also know this. If you know this still think alcohol is the best drink for me, are you a friend or a foe? Or you are fulfilling Scripture (the book of Proverbs) by ‘giving strong drink to him who is perishing so they can drink, forget their poverty and remember their misery no more’? I just do not get it when you come to sell your message to me and lace it with alcohol. If you know me to be a drunkard, why did you wait after four years to get me that drink? For your information, I have quit drinking now because it has kept long, about four years, since I tasted the alcohol you brought in the last campaign.


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My Parliamentary Candidate, I also think it is about time you stopped denigrating your opponents with insulting words and gestures. If you talk about your opponents’ private matters, you will lose my vote. I will actually campaign for them because of that. The qualities of your opponent are not for you to assess. That is my duty. I am supposed to judge you all with my own yardstick, not any of you. So, keep off and allow me to do my work on you and your opponents.

Finally yet importantly, since you alone cannot be a repository of all knowledge and wisdom, you must make a pledge to me and other constituents that you will visit the constituency regularly to update us on issues in parliament and seek our opinion. Remember, it is us you represent and not your party or family.

I wish you well in your endeavor to represent us in the August house of lawmakers. Be the exception and stand out. Let passion for the people drive you and not party colors.

Thanks.

Your constituent.