Kaieteur News – Beware of those who try to make you feel that they are acting in your interest. Be more wary, however, of those who commit egregious acts of wrong doing and attempt to convince you that this was necessary for your own benefit.
God-fearing people have always held that wrong is wrong and right is right. There can be double standards: a wrong cannot be a right. You cannot convert a wrong to a right simply because the victim of the wrong may have been once a wrongdoer.
There is no relativism when it comes to right and wrong. These are absolutes and opposites. And they are also universal. If it is wrong to litter, then you cannot be excused for littering simply because someone else litters. Cheating is wrong whether it is an examination, sport or in elections.
Those who attempted to rig the General and Regional Elections or to benefit from that rigging would want you to believe that this was justified because it was necessary to keep the PPP/C out of office. But why then have an election? Why ask people to engage in casting ballots, if the ultimate intention was to win by hook or by crook, by any possible means.
People should not be fooled into believing that remaining quiet or giving support tacit or otherwise to electoral dishonesty is honourable. It cannot be and therefore the girl who on 5th March, and who upon learning that the PPP/C had won the elections and who broke down in tears, and then directed comments to Granger to “rig it if yuh gat to rig it” cannot be justified on moral grounds.
Rigging is wrong even if it is to stop the devil. If murder, for example is wrong, then even murdering the devil has to be wrong.
I would love to win a gold medal at the Olympics or to win a major international tournament and to pass all my examinations with flying colours. But I do not want to win by cheating; that would be a pyrrhic victory.
Those who attempted to rig the elections or to benefit from this dishonesty would want you to believe that they were doing it in your name and for your benefit. But, yet, they tried to do it behind your back, without consulting you and, they then turned around and lied by claiming that their statements of polls showed that they won the elections.
They pretend to act in your name but without your approval. They may even try to make you believe that they rig on your behalf.
But they are not rigging for your benefit; they are rigging to benefit themselves and their friends. It is not you who is receiving massive concessions – land and duty-free. It is not you who is the recipient of high-paying jobs; it is their friends. It is not you who is enjoying the sweet of office; you still have to struggle each day.
So do not let anyone fool you that they are rigging on your behalf. Do not surrender your morality for the sake of those whose real interest is themselves, their friends and their cronies.
A recent book, “The Moral Economy of Elections in Africa,” argues that some leaders attempt to justify running dodgy elections therefore depends on whether their actions can be framed as being virtuous. The authors contend that the degree to which leaders get away with electoral wrongdoing depends in great measure on whether they can justify their actions as being virtuous. And what better way to achieve this than by pretending that the rigging is for your own benefit.
However, riggers are not your friends; they are your worst enemy. The rigging is against you because once you stay silent; once you give support to electoral fraud you are digging your own grave. Those who rig do not have to give account for what they do. Rigging becomes the permit which they need to do as they please. And once they get it, it is not easy to dislodge them because they know that with your support or silence they do not need to win and win fairly.
There are many people who opted to stay silent during the five-month attempt to hijack electoral democracy. By their silence they were making a statement as to where they stood in respect to the elections. But some of them have now found their voices.
They will not enjoy an audience from me because what they supported by their silence was an attempt to steal every citizen’s right. And that is wrong.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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