There have been a few ugly incidents in the elections campaign so far but in comparative perspective this elections campaign has been more civil than in the past.
True, there has been ugly talk on the political platforms, all the political platforms without exception but nothing that has been said is any worse than which has been said in previous elections.
While much of what has been said was distasteful and at times unnecessary, not all of it has been abusive. The records of individuals have been attacked but at least there has been this time around less personal attacks that in previous elections where things got very nasty at times.
The main concerns have been over the destruction of election paraphernalia. The PPP, very early in the campaign, expressed its concerns about the damage done to super-sized billboards. Quite a number of these costly billboards were defaced and while the PPP said it was the work of the opposition, it did not pin this down to any particular party, suggesting that it was merely speculating as to the source of the attacks.
The PPP did indicate that it will provide the police with information of a vehicle that they say was involved in acts to destroy their billboards. It is doubtful whether any of the political parties were involved in this defacing because it would seem strange for the parties to be civil in regards to posters yet try to deface each other’s billboards.
Concerns were also expressed about the incident at Buxton where one of the meetings of the PPPC was invaded and disrupted by large numbers of hecklers. There has also been a concern expressed about the attacks on the media on the PPP’s platform.
Despite the ugly incidents of heckling, the tearing down of billboards and the personal attacks from the public meetings of the parties, this year’s election campaign has generally been less nasty and less vicious than in previous years.
The political campaigns all the political parties have been lack luster. There has been less public support for the rallies, fewer advertisements, less jingles and fewer posters than in previous elections. The campaigns by modern day standards have also been less professional and some parties seem to be struggling to muster resources to shift their campaign into a higher gear.
All the political parties have pasted up their posters but unlike in previous years there seems to be an understanding that no party would try to paste their posters over that of other parties.
If you travel around the country, you will find that there are few, if any at all, incidents of political parties pasting their posters over those of other parties.
Where posters have been torn down, this seems to be the work of ordinary members of the public rather than that of competing parties because the parties are not attempted to paste over the posters of each other.
All the political parties seem to be observing this rule. If you look at most of the places where the posters are pasted, you will find that the parties have not been pasting over each other posters. The PPP has not tried to paste over the posters of APNU and APNU in turn has reciprocated. This was not the case in previous elections and shows that the parties have been civil at least in respect to posters.
It was therefore surprising to learn that there have been incidents in which the supporters of both APNU and the PPP have allegedly clashed.
However, it is election season and it does seem that some supporters are becoming edgy whenever they see rival parties pasting posters and fearing that the rival parties would deface their own party’s posters have led to incidents.
However, if they took the time to look around, they will see that this is not happening. As such they should not get worked up and create incidents.
It is just over a week left now for general elections and while all the parties would be intensifying their campaign in this the last sprint to the finish, the supporters of these parties must control themselves and not try to provoke incidents that could lead to a breach of the peace or violence.
All the main parties have now signed a code of conduct agreeing to accept the results of the elections and committing to a peaceful campaign. The final days of the election campaign should be competitive but should also set the tone for the people to accept the wishes of the people and move forward after November 28, 2011.
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