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After a festive break, election process has moved into the next phase. The pace of the party machinery has accelerated and politicians are back to the fields, luring voters.

We are seeing party manifestos and the performance of the public debates between candidates dissected. Social media platforms are becoming anti-social and slander the norm. With three weeks left for the country to get its new government and opposition, some argue that such discussions are expected. Others disagree. But we all know that we cannot reconcile with divisive politicking.

As the country prepares to head to the polls once again, it is important that we remind ourselves that the electoral process is not about developing personalities but about developing the system and strengthening it. Those who voted for the two parties that got eliminated in the primary round must participate in the election process. It is the people’s election, not the parties’ and their choice matters.

What matters as much is how the people would decide whom to vote for. For some it is their relation with the candidate or against another candidate. For many, it is the party president and the pledges. These factors are important but, as voters, we have the responsibility to elect candidates who can represent the people and their priorities in the parliament, hold quality deliberations and take informed decisions.

The public debates offer voters a good opportunity to know and assess the candidates. It helps us make informed decisions so that every vote goes to a deserving candidate. This election, politicians observed some changes in the rural electorate. For unlike in the past, rural voters today could not be influenced by their urban literate relatives to vote for a certain party. Their rationale is that those living in urban centres do not know the problems communities in villages faced.  Our civil servants, who make up a chuck of the postal ballot voters, are more familiar with the national vision. For each section of the voters, the priorities differ.

The politicisation of civil service and the local government remains a thorny issue this election. That the election commission’s caution to violation of election rules is paid no heed is as disconcerting, especially because it is aspiring members of parliament and lawmakers who are indulging in disregarding rules and laws.

While pandering to each section of the voters, our politicians must remind themselves and the people of the country’s national vision. We need to understand and remind ourselves that an election is the means, not an end, but the beginning of a new political process.

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