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African opposition leaders should learn to lose with grace

15 Sep 2022 at 05:50hrs | Views
Elections for either presidential or parliamentary positions will birth two people – a loser and winner, so it is important that political parties and their leaders always bear this in mind the moment they decide to join the race.

Political leaders and those contesting should realise that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize.

The competitor should ensure that he or she runs in such a way as to get the prize.

In any race, all those in competitions should accept any result for progress' sake.

Competitors must learn the art of winning humbly and losing gracefully.

A good politician worth the title wins with humility, lose with grace, and do both with dignity.

In Africa, it seems opposition political parties come into a contest looking forward to an outright win without thinking that they could also be subjects of defeat.

The losing opposition leaders end up refusing to accept election defeat, with others alleging rigging.

Some may engage in violent demonstrations while others will pursue the matter and contest the results through the courts.

This wastes time and resources for a country to progress politically, economically and culturally.

Independent electoral bodies that run elections of different countries should be given total powers to declare and cement presidential elections as unchangeable.

In different countries, we have seen and read about elections results contested in the courts. There are, however, fewer instances where the courts have overturned election results that would have been announced.

Challenging election results in courts becomes time wasting and counter-productive.

In most cases, independent electoral bodies who would have presided over the elections in most instances win their arguments in courts and the initially announced results are always upheld.

Last month, Africa witnessed two presidential elections that saw the losers disputing the results.

As has become the norm, the losers rushed to the courts challenging the outcomes.

On August 9, Kenyan people came out in their numbers to elect the leader who was to become their fifth president since independence from British colonial rule in 1963.

They came out with their intentions to make sure they elect into office someone with striking and strategic plans for the development of their nation.

The Kenyans were not interested in someone who did not or someone just coming to contest to win elections without good plans for their country.

They wanted someone who offered solid solutions to their challenges, a person whom they could trust with their future.

For those reasons and others mentioned above, the Independent Election and Boundary Commission (IEBC) announced that Dr William Ruto had won by 50,49 percent of the vote, defeating Mr Raila Odinga who received 48,85 percent.

Mr Odinga suddenly rejected the election results and rushed to the court to get redress.

The Kenyan Supreme Court ruled that Mr Odinga had failed to bring forward concrete evidence that would have shown that elections were manipulated.

For that reason, Dr Ruto, who was declared winner by the IEBC, was confirmed by the court as the incoming fifth President of Kenya.

Relatedly, on August 24, 2022, about two weeks after the Kenyan presidential elections, Angolans came out in their huge numbers to select the occupant of the highest office in their land.

Elections were contested between the Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the ruling party led by Mr Joao Lourenco and the Unity for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), an opposition party led by Adalberto Costa Junior.

The MPLA of President Lourenço won by 51,2 percent and UNITA had 44 percent.

Junior rejected the provisional results and stated that they did not match the party's own tally.

The UNITA leader contested the results in court, but President Lourenco's victory was upheld by the same court, putting to rest any move by the opposition to overturn the results.

Similarly, in 2018, Zimbabweans held harmonised elections where opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, was defeated by President Mnangagwa and he rejected the results.

Chamisa turned to the courts seeking to overturn President Mnangagwa`s victory, but the courts upheld the results citing that Chamisa had failed to come up with valid and tangible evidence that would convince the case for overturning the results.

It has become a trend in Africa that opposition political parties go to elections unprepared and only think that once they are defeated, they would rush to courts for redress.

They should always realise that whenever one is contesting to win, there is need for proper strong campaign strategies, not shallow promises which are not attractive to the electorate.

Political leaders should also realise that it is not always the case that by contesting for elections one is definitely bound to win.

One can win or lose; hence it is proper to accept the result that comes with contesting for any election.

Wasting time on litigation is pointless, hence there is need for opposition political parties to accept defeat and move on.

Source - The Herald
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