November 5, 2008: Of
all the general elections in foreign countries, 0n Monday’s US election
has been the most watched locally. While the local ancestry of
Democratic candidate Barack Obama has contributed largely to that the
current blitz, we need to learn lessons from the behaviour of
candidates and their supporters whom we closely monitored.
We saw the two leading candidates, Mr Obama and Republican John McCain take jointly to the podium to discuss issues that concern their country. At the end they hugged each other and left for the campaign trail.
While election campaigning is bitter, frenzied and spirit wrenching it should never translate to violent episodes and no candidate - or his/her supporters - should ever be allowed to advocate violence on opponents. Similarly, we should never allow voters to be threatened.
It is only last year that we faced a general election that is still laced with bitter memories after vote tallying was disputed. Of course the US electoral has its short-coming but the behaviour of candidates and their think-tanks goes a long way in either destroying a nation or building a democracy.
Like most nations, we have always chosen the democracy path and, despite its short-comings too, it is still the best system we have in place.
Whatever the outcome, the candidature of Obama is a big lesson to us. You don’t have to come from a big community to win and you cannot use your community to win. It is the new world order. We hope.