POLITICS is perhaps one of the few fields where everyone is allowed the privilege of participation either by voting or candidature. Economics and law do not hold the same mass reciprocity with people. The two subjects tend to become a preserve for experts at some point of the discussion.
For example, even the most ardent fanatic of law cannot practice the field until certified to appear in court. Economics, too, becomes a complex game of numbers, ratios and probabilities in its avoidance of over-simplicity.
It is this expansive reach of politics that earns it popular appeal and a level of presumed dominance over law and economics, from the voters’ perspective.
This is to the extent that the legislature (parliament) is a gathering of political representatives of constituencies who are given electoral and legal mandate to amend or enact laws. They are given this mandate specially by the electorate who cannot change laws by themselves in courts of law.
By interpretation, since the legislature exists for public interest, any amendment to the law has the blessing of the public. As such, the courts can be said to be acting on public interest when applying the law as approved by the legislature.
The conundrum with the judiciary is this: firstly, the Chief Justice is a political appointee, irrespective of the indirect approach to the appointment.
Secondly, the courts are expected to be independent. This is more a problem in a democracy than it is in a dictatorship.
A dictator easily confuses self-satisfaction and personal safety as sovereign duty in defence of society. The courts become a means of justifying those fears of self-preservation.
The difficulty of being or pretending to be impartial can be a dangerous balancing act for the judiciary. Dictatorships can have strong psychological influence such that some free societies later begin to create romantic history about their dictators – totally forgetting the torture.
In a democracy, populism becomes the major protagonist against the judiciary. Even those who win elections by thin margins attempt to misuse the courts by creating political cases that give them a popular appeal and image.
It is not any easier for courts under democracies, but the difference is that public interest and populism are not the same. Populism can create great political entertainment in the courts for a while, to the detriment of the accused. However, public interest veers from momentary emotional gimmicks of politics.
Public interest is drawn from cerebral faculty and legitimate collectivity to ensure the advancement of nation. Here as well, it means that after economic decisions are made based on percentages and numerical prowess, the public can disagree with that economic process.
Firstly, when the outcome is detrimental towards the basic living conditions of the population. This is where political debate learns to create balance between emotion (which is populism) and logic (which is public interest).
Secondly, in the same way judicial independence is legitimised, the same holds for the central bank. In both instances, the independence of these institutions is founded on the political legitimacy of the executive, by and large.
Both institutions are not consultative in the way parliament is. They act on the extension of legal authority granted by the electorate. This is partly the main reason the public expects politics to act decisively when a particular function becomes punitive to them.
At its heart, politics is a game of purpose for genuine leaders. A field exclusively intent on communicating matters of deep concern regarding the history, present and future of a country.
With the right commitment, nations have progressed from laggard status to becoming paragons of progress. Such progress, however, is not accidental or haphazard. In the same vein, it is nearly impossible to find a progressive government that did not encounter challenges.
Throughout the country’s history, the nation has fought and overcome seismic challenges including drought, threats of civil war, military coups, regional instability, economic collapse and many more.
However, only since the introduction of democracy in 1991 have the public been informed of or consulted respectfully on decisions that affect them or made on their behalf.
The lesson is that a strong nation of collective purpose must actively question itself and interrogate its actions – it is the law of democracy. It is the purpose of politics.


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