Rewarding loyalists is undermining democracy

Parties have betrayed the spirit of the law. [iStockphoto]

The independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has published the list of candidates to be nominated to Parliament after the general election.

Parties have picked those they deem the best to represent the special interests in Parliament. When the nomination rules were changed, parties were supposed to nominate people who represent the youth, special interest groups, marginalised, women and workers.

Before the changes, party officials had a free hand to nominate whoever they wanted and relatives, girlfriends and cronies found their way to Parliament.

The current list has been a top secret partly due to the fact that parties were using it to settle differences during the nominations exercise and to avoid fallouts in coalitions by promising losers or those asked to step aside a slot in the list.

And true to the suspicions when the list was made public, cronies and party loyalists were given priority. Granted they qualify by dint of fitting in the different categories, but the spirit of nomination is a far cry looking at those most likely to make it to Parliament.

There are many professionals of special interest groups who would otherwise not make it to Parliament were it not for the nomination slots. One wonders why such slots should be as rewards for friendship and not to strengthening party capacity in the House.

The parties have betrayed the spirit of the law, a pointer that they stand for nothing in the democratic space. World over, such privileges are well thought through and the best get nominated. 

Not only has the list exposed our political systems' soft underbelly, it has also brought to the fore the need to vet those we elect at the ballot.

Parties have let us down, let’s not disappoint at the ballot by not voting based on tribe or friendship. We call upon every voter to think through his or her choices when they cast their ballot on August 9.