We are on the final lap to the December 7, 2020 elections. With barely six days to go for the crucial polls, interest in the national exercise is getting sophisticated and charged.
The whole process begins today with the special voting by over 109,000 voters across the country.
As the four-year electoral cycle comes to an end, all critical stakeholders are keenly watching the process each step of the way and putting in every ounce of effort for a successful outcome. The political parties and their candidates in particular are racing against time, in view of the COVID-19 restrictions which impacted on their campaigns, and are now in a frantic last-minute drive not to leave any stone unturned in their push for victory, come next Monday, the election day.
As we go into these crucial elections, I would like to share some of the Eight Beatitudes that Jesus recounted in the Sermon on the Mount to his disciples and the Jews. This, I trust, will come in handy, as they are still relevant and essential. This is because the beatitudes also offer strict guidance for good behaviour for those who find themselves in positions of privilege, power and influence.
While the campaign for political office is on, I wish to remind all of us of some of the beatitudes for consideration. For purposes of this write-up, focus will be on four of them.
After Jesus had seen the crowds, he went up the mountain, and began to teach the disciples: saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied’.
He further told them: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.’
These are great virtues, and as the elections draw nigh, I trust all stakeholders who preach and seek peace in the polls will inherit the Kingdom of God, as promised by the Gospel.
That being so, there is the need for all of us to avoid violence. This will be our eighth election in the Fourth Republic and it will be a shame to do anything untoward. Violence, anarchy, chaos and insults cannot be our fortitude.
It is equally important to do right to all manner of persons. ‘Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.’ In our quest to win the elections, we should avoid deceit, vote buying and saying evil things against one another.
We are in politics to showcase how, given the opportunity, we will use our superior ideas and strategies to enhance the national development agenda. So if for nothing at all, the elections should be a battle of superior ideas and who can govern the state better.
It is also important to have mercy on the citizenry and the nation as a whole. The Gospel says: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.’
By now, we must be used to the idea of wishing well those who are poor, meek, sad, persecuted, downtrodden, heavy laden, oppressed, cannot get a break and have fallen on hard times. These must be our key considerations as we go into the 2020 polls.
We can also not go through this process without having clean hearts, for it is said ‘blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God’.
The essence of the beatitudes is to make the citizenry happy, blessed and prosperous. They also teach us how to be peaceful: not just be at peace but also become peace, so that peace can spread, and that peace can come from being rooted both in the life of God and in the physical world.
Community of goodwill
Indeed, the whole essence is to build a community of goodwill for the healthy and the sick, the powerful and the weak, the rich and the poor to experience lives worth living.
As we go through the process of electing our political leaders, may these beatitudes guide us and lead us to choose the right leaders.