The Manifesto of Clean Election and Beyond

Vemedo J Kezo
Dept. of Education, St. Joseph’s College, Jakhama  

It is heartening to see the Church in Nagaland strenuously promoting the idea of Clean Election. The jargon of Clean Election has become a refrain to most of the Church leaders and we appreciate and encourage for their usage in conscientising people for the same. The common citizens of Nagaland are really discouraged and frustrated year after year, with the democratic process of electing the leaders in governing, leading, and administering and implementing the policies of the people. Not a single government has delivered its actual policies and manifestos up to the expectation of the people. Therefore, we need to address the issue and look introspectively how each one of us is responsible for the present system. This article thus tries to attempt to highlight and reflect how all of us can collectively bring about the Clean Election policy in our state. This is the sum total of all the development and implementation of policies for us.  

We can be so vociferous about Clean Election but we cannot afford to remain silent and be mere spectators when we ourselves have contributed so much to the corruption. From the common people to the Church leaders we have failed to act in responsible way. If the common people can stop asking money from the legislators, if the Church leaders stop inviting the legislators to be the chief guest and patronise a particular local church, if the church leaders can stop preaching about heaven and hell but preach about being honest in this world and not to accept any tainted money from them for the development of the church then things would have been much more just and equitable. The church leaders must speak the truth and social justice on the pulpit and stop preaching about heaven. The new heaven cannot be realized unless we first create an equitable justice and peace on this earth. Let the church leaders stop patronising the legislators, so that the church leaders can speak what is just and truth to them on their face. When we raise our hand to invoke God’s blessing only for them because, they are capable of giving certain amount as sign of their charity to the Church, but this is the money of the people meant for the development and not for a particular local church. It is precisely because of this the Church leaders are not able to see clearly through the eye of prophetic vision.  

The common people must stop camping in the legislator’s house so that; they have the freedom to use their leadership for the development of the people. Our roads are really horrible, but who cares for the road, nobody we blame only the monsoon. In Nagaland, only the tourists deserved good road and not the citizens. Only for the sake of hornbill festival we have good road in the capital for a couple of months. With the onset of monsoon, roads become a river. No one claims the responsibility for this. Not even our officials complain about it. Since we are so must used to it, therefore, it has become part of our nature.  

One of the reasons why Nagaland remains poorly developed is that the common people have finished the development fund by way of selling their votes to the politicians. The law of investment in economic parlance, stipulates that if you spend certain capital then you should get fairly a good margin of return. Therefore, it is quite normal that any candidate, who has poured out all his financial resources to contest the election, will now look for ways of making up for the expenditure he has incurred while contesting and campaigning for the election. In certain villages, rumours have spread like while fire that some parties are storing and reserving liquor for the forth coming election. Obviously, the common people have to own the responsibility for the mess that we are experiencing. We must do away with the blame game and attributing all the failures to our local politicians and start to rationalizing our rights and privileges which is due for us.  

The Church must not patronize certain politicians for the some financial gains. Once they do that, the Church loses it vitality in speaking what is just and right in the sight of God and before people. When the Church executes some of the government projects, through the influence of the political leaders, the Church fails to play a prophetic role in the light of the Gospel values. The Church becomes part of the political system and it becomes a vicious circle which is extremely difficult to break it off. We project a triumphant church and not a community of believing church which reflect the gospel values of ethical conduct and moral sobriety. The Church sides with the government structures and shares their values and becomes part of its structure. That is the reason, why the manifesto of Clean Election becomes a herculean task to achieve.  

Looking at the present scenario and the mindset of the people, Clean Election seems to be extremely difficult if not impossible. For many decades, we have allowed the present system to go on without much rationality. And election becomes, a game played between the contestants. It is not about manifesto or mission for the people, but a career for oneself where money is involved and everyone is involved. And the church leaders are attuned to the whole system and they become anodyne to the system of political game. It has entered into the fibre of our lives and those players without money have become obsolete.  

It is a practically difficult to achieve cent percent of Clean Election in our state, but somewhere we have to strike a note and start to take a minuscule step in doing so. And we will see that one find day, we have covered few miles in our mission for the Clean Election. This mission for Clean Election is not a matter of quality but a degree to be achieved. We need to really work at the grass root level in conscientising people not to sell their vote at the expense of development. It appears that the contestants owe us and we need to be fed for almost a week by them. If we just exercise our franchise, and carefully discern whom to give our vote to, we need not bargain, our vote, on the basis of the amount of money that we received during the campaign. Once we sell our votes, we have no bargaining power in demanding our representatives to do what is expected of them in categorically doing things for the constituency.