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Country needs a new direction

July 17, 2012

It is about time the people drew up a new tenancy agreement with someone whom they trust will keep the house clean.

In a matter of months, the destiny of the nation will be determined for better or worse. The country can emerge stronger or it can turn deadly pale and feeble from the effects of strife and chaos. These are dangerous times: threats, hints, insinuations of violence are being floated to bring fear to the people. There is heightened suspense mingled with rising anxiety as voters wait for the inevitable tryst with destiny.

A party in power for more than half a century is no longer sure it can retain its grip on the people growing increasingly restless, impatient, angry with all the unhealthy developments at home. Massive protests that erupted in recent times were grim warnings of the coming storm. Faced with the dark moment of truth – that there is a real probability of defeat on the electoral battlefield – the political high command went on a dual offensive to stem the tide of discontent.

Marshalling their forces, they crushed the popular movement for democracy and then launched a charm offensive to soothe public anger. Dreaded laws were replaced with new ones with deceiving names that make a mockery of peace and harmony. Cash aid was shelled out for short-term objective. Numerous mind-boggling and mind-numbing programmes were launched in great haste, which would only enrich the few. Yet the commander in chief is reluctant to set in motion the final battle for the coveted prize.

When the day “appointed by destiny” comes, the fight is not so much between political parties as a tug-of-war between the people and the government. In the hands of the people lies the sharp tool that can make or unmake or reshape a government. The nation has reached a crucial stage of its history where it must decide whether it must again throw its lot with the same masters or cast off the old yoke and rewrite a new chapter to usher in a new beginning. The incumbent government is still strong and may pull the rope its way, but the voters can resist and tug the rope their way.

It will be a vicious encounter because at stake is the very survival of an old, proud, stubborn warrior that can no longer see, hear, think clearly. Feeling cornered, it tried to bully its opponents by creating petty issues like withholding study loans for students in a university located in an opposition state and pinning the blame on its political foes. The tactic did not work. Now it is playing “water politics” to deprive most of the people in the same state of the most basic commodity in a bid to make the furious voters hate their new masters. Without water the wheels of industry will come to a grinding halt and people will die of thirst. This ghoulish scenario fits well with the gameplan of a desperate government.

What can the people do now? A choice has to be made and it is either walking down the same dreary alley for another five years or coming out onto a sunny, broadlit plain under a new reign. For more than 50 years the people have “rented” power to the party on the implicit understanding that it must work hard for the people at all times. The party did do its job in the early years, but soon absolute power corrupt absolutely and it lost its integrity and diligence to the demons of greed and money. Its leaders ruled the land like rapacious lords and amassed vast wealth while the masses had no share in the shrinking economic pie. What do the people do now?

The people can do something and it is about time they did something. They have to draw up a new tenancy agreement with someone whom they trust will keep the house clean. There is another tenant that merits consideration because it shows promises of bringing a change for the better. It has gained admission into some states, and now there is an opportunity to take up a five-year residence in the main mansion and do a thorough house cleaning. But can do new tenant repay the public trust? Only time will tell whether this disparate group of strange bedfellows can do a better job. The country needs a new direction, a fresh start, a new charter, a new order.


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