Many agree with Nigerian writer, poet, and critic Chinua Achebe that politics is a dirty game. I think it is politicians who are dirty players in this game. You play it, expect to be smeared with all sorts of dirt: real, imagined and fabricated by politicians.
Sunday Nation columnist Gerry Loughran is convinced that nobody has anything good to say about politicians: “Politics is too serious a matter to be left to politicians,” once said French president General Charles de Gaulle.
American actor-writer John Quinton wrote, “When politicians see light at the end of the tunnel, they go out and buy some more tunnels”
According to US businessman Texas Guinan, a politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country, “I don’t make jokes, I just watch the government and report the facts”, writes comedian Will Rogers.
The problem we face today is that people who work for a living are outnumbered by people who vote for a living, notes George Bernard Shaw.
Apostle Levy Moyo preaches politicians; they are so evil that when it comes to political violence they organize other people’s children, but when it comes to business opportunities and other big benefits, they organize their own children and relatives.
So, what happens if a politician drowns? “That is pollution”, answers John Adams who lived between 1835 and 1910. What happens if all is them drown? “That is the solution”, believed John Adams.
Seems like politicians have their own interests and dealing with them is like sleeping with tigers; you must always have your eyes wide open.
Someone is always being Used
In any political equation, there’s always someone being used.
If you can’t find one, then it is you. Serving politicians is like being a bandage on a wound. Once the wound is healed your usefulness ends.
Politicians don’t recognize and reward value, they recognize their own needs first, and you are only as useful as the lifespan of their need for you.
In politics never mourn or wail more than the bereaved.
They will get the reward while you inherit their enemies. Don’t kill yourself for their ambition or put your life at risk for any politician.
Role of Non-Politicians
What role do nonpoliticians play in this game of politics? If you’re a clean citizen you need to elect people of good character, judgement, and temperament. Members of our local, national, and international assemblies are required to have those qualities.
We need to rethink the range of expertise that’s required for assemblies these days and beyond.
We need to look beyond accountants, engineers, MBA-types, and lawyers.
Some skill-and-experience sets that would be good for our assemblies are, proper digital/data savvy; design gurus of some sort, and “weirdos”, just to get some unusual perspectives and challenges going.
Half the number of assembly members should be entrepreneurs, people who have successfully run their own sizeable businesses. We need an entrepreneurial mindset to infect our assemblies. We should not just look for professionals, experts, and technocrats; we look for those who have taken risks and blazed trails.
Two-thirds of our assemblies’ membership should be women. No excuses and if you can’t find women, you clearly don’t know where to look, then problem is probably you, not the missing women.
One in every two of our assembly members should be below the age of thirty.
You can no longer ignore the young, or take them for granted, or pretend to understand them. They have to be represented, and they have to be served. They have to tell the rest of us what’s what in their world, which, trust me, is pretty damn different from your world and mine.
Our assemblies should have no more than one or two people older than sixty. Because experience of the past may be overrated when the future is so uncertain and so likely to demand step-changes in strategy.
We should also look for “people” – those with deep understanding of human beings, and experience of managing them. People specialists and organizational psychologists come into play, big-time, when we are forced to think about reskilling, continuous learning, and cultural evolution as core to our society.
Here is my disclaimer: I am not a political scientist, my views are based on my experience in politics and recommendations by the indefatigable Tom Peters in his book, Excellence Now: Extreme Humanism.
Full disclosure: I have trained, coached, and mentored politicians since 1992, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.