Good governance: 10 things to consider before voting a candidate

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Now and then, countries conduct elections to select and appoint political candidates for various public offices. The purpose of the electoral process is to achieve good governance so the candidates are chosen by the masses to pilot the affairs of the country and provide all the basic needs and necessities for lives and businesses to strive.

Usually, it is the most competent candidates that get selected by the people during elections. However, these dynamics no longer apply in a lot of countries, especially those practicing democracy.

Nowadays, only those who are able to buy the conscience of the public are being given positions in the government.

People are no longer interested in knowing about the background of a candidate before casting their vote for him or her on election day. And this has, in many ways, robbed us of a lot of benefits we are supposed to be enjoying from our government.

Candidates who buy their way to public offices tend to forget the needs of the masses because, to them, whatever they share during campaigns and elections should be enough for the masses. Therefore they go into the office intending to satisfy their own needs.

It is high time we, the masses, take up our responsibility of choosing the right candidates that can provide for our long-term needs in the country, and promote good governance.

How to choose the right candidate to achieve good governance

Political candidates and government offices are there to serve the masses; it is our votes that put them in office.

Therefore we should make it a habit of choosing only the most competent and accountable candidate that fully understands our needs and is willing to work with us to make the country a better place.

Here are the most important things to consider before voting for a particular candidate on election day.

Candidate’s background

First and foremost, we need to find out more information about the candidate running for that office. Go through their accomplishments and activities as well as their upcoming projects to see whether they are visible or not.

Check the feasibility of their plans to know if they can be logically accomplished or not. It’s not enough to just read their campaign flyers and watch their campaign ads because all they put there are academic accomplishments – what they want you to see and believe – and not what they’ve been able to achieve personally for the country or their constituents.

Sometimes being able to lead people takes more than just having academic intelligence. What really counts is how great their desire is in improving the social, economic, and political aspects of the nation.

Opinion polls

According to the Pew Research Center, election polls are, among other things, helpful in determining how candidates qualify for a particular office, what issues are important, how much support a specific candidate has as well how their qualities may affect voters’ decisions. So you may want to check the candidate’s standings in polls.

Know what others are saying about the candidate and determine for yourself what their opinions are worth, but keep in mind that people have their individual views, and it is your vote that will count in the end.

Sometimes being on top in opinion polls doesn’t make a candidate the best choice for the position. A lot of politicians tend to buy the voices of influential people to increase their awareness among voters. Some are able to increase their rankings in this service simply because of their looks and ability to lie with ease.

Therefore it is important that you build your own impression of the candidates and write down only the one you trust.

Polls and surveys can help you determine who the talk of the town is, but that doesn’t mean you should go for the most popular.

Always trust your instincts and judgment, and you’ll go home satisfied with yourself for making the right choice and voting for good governance.

The practicality of the candidate’s agenda

You may also want to know the contents of the candidate’s agenda, the things he is planning to change or fix, and if they are in line with the current trends and happenings in the country.

The candidate must be fully abreast of the current situation and problems of the country and should be able to come up with logical Solutions on how these issues can be resolved.

Being aware of the situations but not doing anything about it is one of the many traits of a traditional politician who doesn’t have the needs of the people at heart.

Make sure to watch out for candidates with experience and dedication to bringing a lasting change to these issues.

Candidate’s qualities

Another important factor to consider is the candidate’s personality and qualities. There are several qualities that a candidate must possess to be able to lead.

A good candidate is characterized by honesty, humility, confidence, integrity, and more. He should be a good communicator, approachable, leader, and follower at the same time.

The country needs someone who values the opinions of the people. They should be brave enough to admit their mistakes, learn from them, and seek advice on becoming better leaders.

Unfortunately, these traits and characteristics are hardly seen in our modern-day politicians. All we have now are greedy, egoistic two-faced politicians who reveal their true colors once elected.

Join and participate in Q&A sessions with candidates

Candidates are usually invited to chat with followers via phone-in sessions on media houses or forums on social media.

This gives you the opportunity to ask them questions relating to their achievements, current plans, or upcoming projects.

You can also find out if their projects are logical and align with the needs of the people.

The kind of answers to give will determine if they are the right candidates or not.

Thanks to awareness campaigns on social media, the public is becoming more and more aware of these forums, and they have been increased participation in recent times.

Give it a try, and you will be surprised to find that most candidates do not have a clue about what the position entails, and many do not have what it takes to become leaders.

Criminal records

you must choose a candidate who is offense-free and has a clean record. You can’t trust someone with a criminal record to uphold and enforce a law that they have broken.

Now imagine someone who has been charged for embezzlement of public funds and found guilty is coming out for a public office, and one of his agenda is eradicating fraud and corruption. How is that possible?

Watch debates – either televised or live

This is a good way to judge their character and knowledge. Their conversance with the issues of national interest will be revealed when they are put on the spot. Plus, most debates tend to put two contestants against each other. This is an opportunity to compare their plans and decide for yourself which aspirant is fit for the public office.

Deflection

Watch out for this in every aspect of the campaign and election. If an aspirant talks more about his opponent than issues facing the nation, then it is highly likely that he doesn’t know or understand anything about the issue.

Take note of those times during campaigns or debates when they don’t actually answer questions relating to a topical issue but rather deflect the conversation elsewhere.

For instance, if a candidate is asked how he plans to tackle the issue of insurgency and he goes like “you know, our party has always been against the rise of the insurgency in the country. In the past, we have talked about how it has become an issue… and my opposition doesn’t…” without giving a straight forward answer in the end, then he doesn’t have a clue about the issue and therefore isn’t fit for the position.

Candidate’s personal life

Any candidate running for public office should have a clean record both in the public view and in their personal lives. Try to find out what they’re like in private: as a business person or family person, how they treat and pay employees, as a

God-fearing person, as a taxpayer. Thankfully, the ever-curious media is known for digging into the private lives of politicians, so you’ll surely have an endless supply of information to work with.

If a candidate has a track record of illicit sexual affairs, substance abuse, and corruption, why would you vote for him or her into public office? What do you expect from such a person when they win the election? It’s like shooting yourself in the leg and blaming it on the gun.

Get your voters card

This is as important as the other factors on this list. It is your right as an eligible citizen to cast your vote on election day.

You shouldn’t sit at home and wait for the change to happen. By registering as a voter and going out on election day to cast your vote, you’re adding your voice to fight against bad leadership.

Register as a voter, exercise your voting rights, maximize it, and it will make a difference.

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