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Politicians thrive on promises that are sometimes hard to fulfill


I have always thought of politicians as an entirely different breed of humans, more prone to issuing tantalizing yet outlandish campaign promises than to fulfilling them, and voters as a bunch of gullible, happy go lucky folks, who gleefully accept these promises without questioning their practicality.

It is a social contract, so to speak, the relations between politicians and voters. An immense, unfailing trust is reposed by voters in politicians in return for the deliverance of services.

But when politicians fail to fulfill these promises upon winning power, there is an uproar, voters are mightily disappointed in the men and women they thought could dramatically change their lives. The trust is irreparably damaged.

Devastated, voters consequently seek salvation elsewhere, maybe in the arms of another political entity. Or, as in the case with the bitter voters of the Gbambaya, Sagnarigu Dungu-Kukuo and Kulneyevilla communities in the Tamale South constituency, threaten not to participate in the December elections.

On Sunday, residents of the three communities came out in large numbers in a demonstration to press home their point. Their main bone of contention is the lack of accessible, motorable roads, a failure they blame squarely on their political representatives.

Their intended action comes on the heels of similar threats issued by five communities in the Kumbungu constituency, who early this year demonstrated their intense displeasure with the failure of successive Ghanaian governments to connect them to the national electric grid by vowing not to vote in December.

The voters of the three communities have every right to be angry with their political representatives, who it must be emphatically stated, are tone deaf to the pleads of their constituents to do something about the poor state of the roads in the communities

Failure to fulfill campaign promises is an ugly feature of politics, a fact many politicians would not readily admit for the simple reason that they thrive on promises. A politician who does not promise milk and honey to his/her constituents has a slim chance of winning.

Look at the large number of promises so far issued this election cycle by the two major political parties and they will get your head spinning. Many of them are simply unrealistic and out of reach; they are just campaign gimmicks dangled before voters.

And when the time comes to deliver services, make good on the campaign promises, politicians vanish into thin air, they are no where to be seen. Not even an explanation is given. Voters after all don’t deserve it.

If you are a voter, like the voters in the three communities you will undoubtedly be hopping mad, too, aggrieved and very angry, especially so, when a member of your community lost her life during a torrential rainfall that washed away a bridge that was shoddily constructed.

While I sympathize with the plight of the people of the three communities — yes, the absence of good, motorable roads is a deterrent to potential investors and service providers, and in many instances invariably lead to economic inactivity and eventually, poverty — I don’t support the idea of boycotting elections, they are too important at this stage of our political development to be ignored.

The right to vote is a fundamental right, one that has been fought for by millions of people around the world. Blood has been shed and lives lost in this quest.

Just ask our brothers and sisters in South Africa how long it took them to win that coveted right to vote for the party of their choosing. The right to vote should therefore not be trivialized at all.

The voters of the Gbambaya, Sagnarigu Dungu-Kukuo and Kulnyevilla communities should bear this in mind and exercise their right to vote, even if it means casting their votes for some other party among the many that are competing for their loyalty.

Doing so, will undoubtedly send a strong and clear message to their party hierarchy that their votes are absolutely important and mustn’t be taken for granted, and that campaign promises to provide simple, basic services should be kept.




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