Editorial Comment

Vote wisely

PARLIAMENTARY and council by-elections will take part across the country on March 26.

The by-elections are perceived by many people as a mini-general election and dress-rehearsal of next year’s harmonised polls.  

Campaigning for the by-elections is expected to commence in earnest and we hope the best candidates, with big ideas and clear vision must be elected legislators and councillors.

The polls should be decided on issues of substance, not which political party one belongs to. Gone are the days of blind voting because of one’s political alignment.

We have seen over the years the election of legislators who have slept on duty.

Any elected MP or councillor must intermittently present performance reports containing progress made since their election. This should be measured against the campaign manifesto.

These reports will review progress made in meeting the people’s needs, aspirations and expectations.

The electorate must never tolerate MPs and councillors to be missing persons in the constituencies.

It is the right of the electorate to demand for accountability from elected officials. Over the years we have seen MPs and councillors vanishing from their constituencies and wards once elected. Some have even not uttered a single word in parliament or council chambers for the entire five-year term much to the detriment of the people they represent.

We have heard of MPs and councillors who last held meetings in their constituencies during campaigns when they were seeking for votes to go to the august house or council chambers.

A political analyst once remarked that “the MPs had seen it necessary to use people to vote for them into parliament so that they get to live luxuriously, forgetting to represent those who had sacrificed their time standing in meandering queues waiting to vote for them”.

There are serious political consequences for a party that sponsors MPs and councillors who do not perform.

The electorate will punish the laggards at the ballot box and that is why it is necessary for political parties to field competent and dedicated candidates.

Non-performing MPs and councillors must be recalled. The recall of elected members is not a new idea in the world, nor is it particularly complicated. It is simply a device whereby elected officials can be subjected, at any time, to the review of the people who put them in office.

MPs and councillors who do not champion social development in their constituencies don’t deserve a seat in parliament or council. They are retrogressive and should be shown the door.

Vote wisely on March 26!