THERE is no need to regurgitate the figures that prospective presidential candidates are mandated to pay before obtaining the forms required to contest in party primaries. The airwaves and the commentators have been awash with the sums for days.
The best way to put the absurdity in perspective is to do a comparative analysis of the current minimum wage (where it is paid) and the country’s purchasing power parity as well as the rate of inflation. The disparity reveals that there is no correlation between the price of political activities and derived benefits to the electorate.
The costs of political activities have gone up exponentially and the people have concomitantly become poorer. This is a “descent from tragedy into farce”.
We will continue to grin and bear it because it is a reflection of a deformed polity as well as the absence of a necessary social contract to bind political and civil society in tandem. That the country does not have political parties funded and controlled by a mass membership. This has its origins in the disruption of the process of natural political evolution by the military, but it has been beneficial to their succeeding political class who have seized control of the political parties and created fiefdoms out of them for the benefit of a few.
The highest cost of a misconstrued notion of ‘politics ‘ means that the country will continue with what in effect is “ the development of “underdevelopment”. With campaign funding obligations to pay back and a posse of party apparatchiks to ‘settle’ the costs of the machinery of the government, we will continue to balloon leaving little for genuine sustainable development. This is tragic in every conceivable way.
The only way out is to hope that a new generation can either build their parties from scratch or seize control of the presently available dominant structures. Whichever way the country cannot deepen democracy and be competitive with the existing order of things. Hopefully, the public outpouring of disaffection over the high cost of political participation will lead to a rethink and a change.