Much have been spilled during the past few weeks. We began with the tussle between solution and election. Unsure and unsettled we entered into this race. One phase of it will soon settle as we hit the poll tomorrow. If one thing can be observed, it is the power of agreeing to give up on which is not tangible and agreeing to do things for common good.
Election in the state is not an option, it is a an integral part of the system. We have talked so much of what has come out of the good ideals of election. The church advocating for clean election has pointed out the many ill practices in our society which have hold us captive. We do not need to repeat those anymore at this time because we will be facing the poll to elect our leaders for another five years to come.
The support for clean election campaign initiated by NBCC comes from all corners. It is supported by all the denominations, the civil society organizations, the hohos, students, political parties, parliamentarians, and individuals in their own capacity. We all believe that for things to change our electioneering system in Nagaland must change. Clean election is a movement and it is far from over. We know it too well that the campaign for free and fair election doesn’t end with election. The ills that come with election have been deeply rooted. We must continue to clean the mess we have created for decades only then we will see change. The fight for corruption that has plagued our society must be put to a stop in order to build a progressive society. We shall take the voice of the political parties during their election campaign to root out corruption to task and expect them to keep their words when they come to power.
In the campaign trail and common platform we have heard of politicians making new commitments and talk of the things that deeply touch our system and most importantly, our lives. We have heard phrases such as reform and transformation, rededication and commitment making it more like a political revival. We also heard precious words such as change and transparency, corruption free, development and much more as the candidates go around presenting their action plans for the next five years. Amidst those hopeful words we also have heard the ugly attacks and counter-attacks some of which were very personal. Is it because they know each other so well or is it because they are serious about cleansing the system? We have also seen the game of attaching and detaching to maintain a safe distance to woo voters. The question is, are they serious about it? At this point, it is for us to wait and see whether they really mean what they say. Will they be able to walk the talk?
Now as Election Day approach, we have embraced one over the other for reason best known to us. As voters it is only fair that we give them the benefit of the doubt and deposit those to the bank hoping that it will come to pass. And as we do that we must look at the larger interest of our state and gaze to our future for which we are all passionate about. Change the way we do things, transform our condition and situation for a better tomorrow, expect a corrupt free society. For all these to happen we cannot continue to harbor things on party line but come together and join hands with another to bring about change that is truly needed. Nevertheless, this will only happen if self transformation precedes the call to transform our society that has become so corrupt and so badly divided.
The journey to clean election was marred by violence and discord among communities. We also get reports of money playing a bigger role this time. It is indeed very painful that we so easily sell out the most precious gift “the birthright” for momentary gratification. Yet, we also hear individuals and families returning the money to the giver. They are the people whom God has preserved as remnants in our society. These instances may be small in numbers but they speak out loud that the process has begun and is gaining ground. The common platform is another thing we have seen that stood prominently. The control of party common camp and feasting have been much reduced.
When everything is said and done, the Nagas desire that the promise made by our politicians will not only become an election rhetoric but something that politicians will seriously put to fulfilling. Remember after five years you are coming back to visit the voters and that time around, you will have the chance to declare your achievements rather than just promising. Your best achievements will be your testimony.
To the voters, vote for whom you have to vote. Vote with pride knowing that you are exercising your vote for all that you hold dear. Let us avoid proxy voting. Do not allow other people to vote for you. Your vote is your voice and it is the power of a single vote that will make the difference. We need development, good road, good governance, transformation and change in the system but all these will only happen when we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Above all things, the Nagas need God; only then, things will fall into its rightful place.
Let us avoid post election violence but embrace each other to build a better society. Let us pray for all the 195 candidates as they await the result. Less than one-third of them will make it but we must pray for them all that God will give them the grace in victory as well as in defeat. We all long for genuine change today and if we are all serious we must forget our differences and move forward. Clean Election Campaign is not a story, “it is a testimony of the church it is your personal testimony.” The word of God says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance”Psalm 33:12). God bless you all.
Zelhou Keyho, General Secretary, NBCC
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