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Northern politicians; please be civil to each other


Am I the only one hoping and praying that some political kingmakers in the northern region will turn down the volume and minimize their heated political rhetoric for the collective good of all of us?

Admittedly, the political discourse in the region is taking on a pattern that is both alarming and sad. It is demagoguery at its worst. And unfortunately, it bears striking resemblance to the ugly and vindictive character assassinations we see going on in the southern half of the country.

What worries me, and I believe a large number of northerners, with the sole exception of the hard core partisans on both sides of the political divide, is the raw animosity that exists between prominent northern politicians of the two major political parties. The bad blood, I must stress, is intense, vitriolic and downright nasty.

Accusations are being thrown around with reckless abandon, without the added benefit of irrefutable evidence. A case in point: a northern regional head of a political party recently lashed out viciously at the northern regional chief executive, the regional minister, accusing him of arming young men of a rival party in Walewale with dreaded AK 47s.

This particular accusation is dangerous and misleading for a variety of reasons and should be discounted by all progressive northerners. It is just silly to assume that a sitting regional chief executive, no matter his political ambitions, will elect to arm young men with deadly weapons.

He would be completely out of his mind to even contemplate a venture remotely close to what the regional minister has been accused of. It will be suicidal. Plunging a region you govern into a bloodbath is the most reckless and career ending move a politician worth his salt can make.

What is more, our region can least afford to turn to violence to express its political sentiments. It would be too costly. We have been down this road before, and the consequences are still fresh in our memories.

Don’t get me wrong. Modern day northern politicians are not bumbling fools. They are in fact a wonderful bunch; they are hardworking, committed and dedicated public servants. This attitude is a reflection of the S.D. Dombo tradition.

Like their predecessors, they waded into politics with the singular purpose of changing the dynamics that have severely curtailed the north’s economic progress.

On one level, given the north’s economic and financial deprivation, their constituents expect a lot from northern politicians. And so far, they have done a good job of attracting development to the region.

But on another level, their constituents expect them to be civil and cordial to each other, to promote the interests of the region, and to work in unison to forward the northern agenda irrespective of their political allegiance. But the failure here is glaring.

Northerners are not monolithic….we sure don’t think alike on any issue. We hold diverse political views, but that does not preclude us from joining forces for the common good of our region.

Pointless political rhetoric serves no useful purpose and only distracts from the tough challenges that lie ahead.

Let me conclude my commentary with a memorable quote from the late Rodney King, the black American gentleman whose vicious beating at the hands of Los Angeles Police sparked several days of riots and chaos in 1992. “Can we all get along?” Northern politicians can take a page from Mr. King’s book.

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