Dr. Asangba Tzüdir
Even before a single vote is cast someone is already elected uncontested out of the 195 candidates for the upcoming Nagaland Assembly election while stray incidents of violence have already marred the process of Clean Election in the pursuit of ‘majority.’ It has also created a fear that such incidence of violence may gather momentum and the chances of getting it fuelled by the very nature and the endemic ‘structure’ of our society and the past references and relationships is bound to take precedence. Ultimately it will reflect on voting.
While, there is a whole lot of sceptisicm revolving around Clean Election, the 18 point agreement inked for clean polls between seven political parties and the Nagaland Baptist Churches Council does not seem to have served as a deterrence for the ‘candidates’ and ‘voters’ from ‘buying votes’ and ‘getting bought’ inspite of signing ‘not to buy votes or bribe voters with money or materials.’ This has happened because it is the ‘majority’ that is pursued and not the ‘truth.’
Crumbling infrastructure and the lack of proper governance and policy making in the state has greatly disrupted the normal lives of the people. It is also a lesson for those ‘bought’ public and especially those playing double standards of taking money during elections and also ask development. But on the whole, for want of better life, there is a resurgence among the right thinking citizens, groups and organisations towards the need for change from the existing stste of affairs. To this end, a ‘breakthrough’ is already achieved in the form of commom platforms being organised for the candidates and the public to come together inorder to set a right direction in the process of voting and electing the right leader.
Today, democratic values finds sacrificed at the altar of ‘majority,’ and in the pursuit of ‘majority’ stray incidents of violence have already flared up leading to the election. A peoples reform in understanding is desired, that, while standing for the real truth and even when it comes to voting, it is a about consciously expressing ones integrity and principle. When it is about standing for the real truth, the question of majority does not arise, neither is it about winning that is desirable or losing that is undesirable. Whatever the end result, truth stands.
This calls for a collective responsibility in the process of voting and central to it is the right to vote, the exercise of which begins and ends with the voter. The onus is on the voter to vote clean and not a sold-off vote. Only when a ‘vote’ is clean, that, it can put the responsibility of clean election on the politician. By clean voting, the voters also passes the ownership of democratic voting from the electorate to the politician. In this way there will be a power shift where people will come to own the election which in turn will create a process of voting collectively for the right people.
Even as voting day draws close, let this appeal to ones conscience on the need to ‘Vote clean’ in exercise of one’s ‘right to vote’ and also ‘let vote’ in the exercise of their rights too. If we ‘vote and let vote’ without selling ones right, money does not become a factor, nor will there be violence or the need for a repoll or CCTV’s and the end result will be desirable.
This election, are we willing to give this truth a chance, or for that matter, free, clean and fair voting.
(Dr. Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org)