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A government is as good or as bad as the Opposition is strong or weak. A weak Opposition allows a Government not only to engage in corrupt practices but abuse institutions of state, disregard the Rule of Law, and violate the rights of citizens. A strong Opposition keeps a Government on its toes, and this is done through advocacy and taking seriously its watch-dog role. Once a party is elected it must govern in the interest of all. This includes both its supporters and the supporters of the opposition. It is therefore the role of the opposition to ensure this because uncaring governments do not willingly accept this as their duty.
Recent experiences are proving that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Government is getting away with so many wrongdoings because it sees the Opposition as weak. Almost daily there are problems that beg attention from the Opposition. Supporters are feeling the Opposition is not doing enough to keep the Government on their toes and that they are being left in the wilderness to fend for themselves. This is not a condemnation of the Opposition, as yet, but constructive criticism that cannot be ignored.
If people feel they are without formal leadership not only will natural leaders emerge, but they will become disaffected and an uncaring government would find it easier to violate and discriminate against them.
The litany of complaints and evidence of witch-hunting, recrimination and discrimination deserve more than the occasional expressions of concern. By now the Opposition should have had the Government retreating from its relentless assaults on citizens and growing mismanagement. When the present party in government was in opposition it telegraphed its intent to go after those employed by the A Partnership for National Unity +Alliance For Change Coalition Government. They are making good on the threat and the Opposition should have had forceful responses.
Last week, even before the Police made its move, man-in-street knew Colvin Heath-London, former acting Chief Executive Officer of NICIL, would have been arrested. Last week Thursday this publication was made aware James Bond would have been arrested. He was arrested on Tuesday. If the ordinary man knew about these incidents before they happened, any alert Opposition would most likely have the same information and should have gone on the offensive. It is not sufficient to be reactionary when information and patterns of behaviour are threatening and allow for proactive approaches.
The pain and hopelessness of the Coalition’s constituents are real. They cannot be ignored. Neither can these be appeased with the occasional, far apart, press conferences that give no hope or alleviate the pain. The Opposition must recognise the necessity of a multi-faceted approach and the development of capacity to operate on all fronts.
While others speak to specific issues that affect them, and which the Opposition may benefit from, these persons and organisations are not the Opposition. The Opposition provides strength to what they do not vice versa. The Opposition must give confidence to their supporters, detractors, and those on the sideline.
Another concern with the Opposition is its seeming inability or disinterest in defending its record when it was in government and responding to allegations made by the PPP/C government. The time lapse between allegation and response, if any, is too long.
There is a need for the Opposition to act in a manner that gives confidence to its supporters they are acting in their best interest, day in and day out. Even some supporters of the government are not comfortable with the vindictive politics particularly when the government promised inclusivity. But they are constrained in speaking out lest they be attacked by the government, fellow supporters and ostracised. The Opposition not only speaks for their supporters
but those who want a better society, a better government, and long for an end to the hate-filled and divisive politics.
For the good of society and national unity citizens are better served when mobilised against what is wrong and show the value of what is right. These are stark distinctions and comparisons that can and must be made or else people will not appreciate the value and wisdom of doing better. An Opposition is a government in waiting and if it continues to function or gives the impression it is not up to the task, its chances of returning to government will become slim to zero.