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Debate: Are we missing the point?

While politicians are trying to keep it cool, slandering and smearing has picked up on the social media. It is a safe bet to say that most of the posts and updates are from party workers and supporters. Some are chiming in unnecessarily.

It is all right to support a party of one’s choice. Because different political parties have different packages to offer, this is only to be expected. Even if what they have to offer the voters aren’t wholly different, in our society support for a certain political party is driven by one’s relation with party candidates.

But the kinds of support for the politicians that show on the social media are of the kind that can provoke animosity and division in the society. Instead of reasoned justification calling for support, individuals, mostly behind the veil of anonymity, are engaging in relentless character assassination.

Maybe some of the politicians are indeed to blame. Their conduct as elected representatives of the people has not been of the kind that deserves respect. There is smoke where there is fire. Today, words like womanizer, thief, fraud and dictator are being used to associate some of our self-righteous politicians with. And the ardent support groups are getting at each other’s neck.

Such acts are both reckless and dangerous. It is not a civilised way of campaigning for the political party that an individual supports. Political parties have laid out their development plans and priorities before the electorate. Common forums, which are underway, are being conducted so that candidates can explain to the voters what political parties believe in and how they are going to achieve their dreams and objectives.

The debates should be on the many priorities that the nation and the people see as critically important. To put it in the right perspective, our farmers are interested in opportunities of improving agriculture production. For the nation’s young population, it is employment. We need better roads, better schools and health services, and many more, of course.

Are our political parties offering all these – and convincingly enough? Bringing these issues to the different fora and media platforms might even help our politicians find some focus that has been sorely lacking.

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