DEMinishing Political Capital
Brenda Mazibuko: You’re risking your political capital, you’re risking your future as our leader.
Nelson Mandela: The day I am afraid to do that is the day I am no longer fit to lead[…] – Invictus Quotes
Barbadians from both sides of the political fence agree Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart has not enjoyed the freedom to make unpopular decisions within the party because of a razor thin margin given to him at the polls. It has affected his ability to respond effectively to the Eager 11 issue as well as to censure errant ministers to identify two out of many. Minister David Estwick has repeatedly challenged the custom of Cabinet collective responsibility. This week Donville Inniss in his capacity as minister of Industry public stated at the BCCI monthly luncheon the government should make the Cahill agreements public, a statement which conflicted with one issued by the Minister of Finance on the same matter in the same week (let the fish gather). It is difficult to understand if ministers attend weekly Cabinet meetings why the public is frequently subjected to a high level of incoherent utterances read conflicted positions from ministers of the government.
In the movie Invictus which features Morgan Freemen in the role as president Nelson Mandela of South Africa, he [Mandela] responded to his personal assistant with the quote at the top of the blog when questioned about the risk to his office by taking an anti-establishment decision. The problem plaguing Barbados is the unwillingness of our political leader to make decisions in the interest of the country. During a period of social and economic stress we have a political leader who is constrained to make decisions based on protecting a diminishing level of political capital.
A big strand in leadership is about nurturing trust in those you seek to lead. Barbadians listened to the prime minister after the last general election expressed outrage at election irregularities he saw with his own eyes. The first minister he appointed to his Cabinet supported him (the same minister who promised to investigate the matter of the LEC and has not been held accountable by the PM). BU like many have have not forgotten the insensitive and callous defence of the Speaker of the House who was found guilty by a High Court of withholding clients monies until the political class – including members from both BLP and DLP – were forced to do a collection to save is Black a**.
The rise of social media riding on the back of technological advances is attempting to give a voice to Barbadians and citizens across the globe. This has become necessary because the moribund and supine traditional media continues to prostitute itself at the whim and fancy of the advertiser’s dollar. The traditional media is meant to be the leveller, the watchdog, a forum to give voice to the issues AND to educate the public to facilitate informed positions. But nature abhors a vacuum and social media has had to fill the void. Until and unless the traditional media manup to its responsibilities social media will gather momentum as this rudderless government is discovering with each passing day.
BU waits for the day the traditional media appreciates its role and focus on what is at the root of the problem, an irrelevant governance system.