When in despair, man employs every trick in the book to ensure he gets what his heart longs for, including telling lies.
For politicians, lying is part of their trade. It is for this reason that a senior pastor at Millersville Bible Church in the United States, Steven Cornell, once described politics and hypocrisy as bedfellows.
In one of his published sermons, Cornell explains how politicians use deceit to get elected before vanishing into thin air, only to return when another round of elections is near.
“Politicians are all a bunch of crooks! Every politician is a liar! They don’t really care about the people. They’re too busy fighting with each other to get anything done,” he said.
On May 20, Malawi will hold its first ever tripartite elections. Currently, politicians are busy selling their manifestoes to the electorate.
So, are all these promises lies?
Trintas Thipha of Lolo Village in Mulanje said she stopped attending campaign rallies because she cannot stomach the lies that politicians make to voters.
Thipha said the most disturbing thing is that some politicians who defaulted on their promises are holding important positions in their churches and mosques.
“This has always made me believe that politics encourages hypocrisy. Politicians are good men and women in their churches or mosques,” she said.
Thipha said hypocrisy has the potential to discourage voters from participating in elections.
A church elder at Nansato CCAP Church in Thyolo, Saulos Chisoso, said it is wrong to pretend that there could be politics without hypocrisy.
“The most dangerous form of political hypocrisy is to claim to have a politics without hypocrisy. The best voters can do is to decide what kind of hypocrite they want for a leader. Otherwise, we will never have politics without hypocrites,” said Chisoso.
Executive director of the Pan African Civic Educators Network (Pacenet) Steven Duwa said although no one likes being cheated or taken as a fool, shunning voting is irresponsible and dangerous.
Duwa said while it is crucial to seek credible and trustworthy leaders, voters should not naively wish for utopian political idealism.
“Every well-meaning citizen must be concerned about the growing cynicism towards politics that appears to feed on misguided expectations about human leaders. So, perhaps the best way to avoid the cynicism is to be more realistic about an ideal human leader before we decide on who to cast our vote for,” he said.