Saturday, 30 April 2011

No Mr Laureate, You Will NOT Get My Vote!

The Nobel Prize was founded to award people who have made immense contributions towards the progression of humanity. Whether or not its reputation has recently been tarnished we can’t deny that it’s currently the most prestigious accolade in the world.

Winners of the award have primarily come from the west. This has pretty obvious reasons; economic and technological developments obviously help in the advancement of humanity. The award does however find recipients in undeveloped countries like Bangladesh, Burma, Nigeria and Ghana.

Having said that, most of the awards given to people from Third World countries are for Literature and Peace. Literature, because as we all know any story from an under developed country is considered exotic in the west (which is a phenomenon I am willing to exploit with my to-be book “Sit Shay”, which translates to “Tea Lady”); and Peace because, well I don’t have to explain that one.

Despite their incredible achievements, Nobel Laureates from Third World countries have developed a rather exasperating presumption regarding their own political adeptness. They think they are fit to run their countries. Ok, they don’t think, they’re convinced. If you think, you’d write about it but when you’re convinced you actually run for office.

Kofi Annan, a former secretary general of the UN, and former head of the UN Security Council is one of the aforementioned Nobel Laureates. After his rather pathetic term as the head of the UN Security Council, he assumed the post of secretary general of the UN. During his tenure as secretary general he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for being an African in a high position, or at least that’s what I think, because honestly the Royal Swedish Academy of Science’s reasoning was incomprehensible.

So after Annan’s tenure ended in the UN, he went back home to Ghana for a political career. In 2007 he was considered as a candidate for Ghana’s presidential elections.

Another Nobel Laureate with high political aspirations is Wole Soyinka, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. In 2010, he established the Democratic Front for a Peoples Federation, which he chaired, but whether he was going to run for office was disputed.

The most recent Nobel Laureate to make such a preposterous move is Egypt’s Mohammed El Baradei. He’s a former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his “attempt” at purging the world of nuclear weapons.

El Baradei was heavily involved in the recent Egyptian revolution and was considered a symbol of resistance by many Egyptians. In February 2010 he formed the National Association for Change, a non-party-political movement. He later announced in March of 2011 that he intends to run in the upcoming presidential elections.

The outrageous part in all this buffoonery is not the silly reasons on which the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Annan and El Baradei, but the inconceivable conviction of the Nobel Laureates’ political aptitude.

Being in charge of a major global organisation, and having a high proficiency in telling stories doesn’t give anyone the right to a political career in their country, let alone be president. Politics, despite being a reprehensible field, like all other fields requires experience. And unlike other fields, its climate varies from one country to the next. So it only makes sense that successful politicians always have significant experience in their own country’s political atmosphere before making attempts at high positions.

Suddenly emerging on to a political scene and having the audacity to think that people should vote for you and your policies is not only stupid but quite disrespectful. The only thing people like Annan, Soyinka and El Baradei have to offer the populace is their much coveted accolade. This does nothing for anyone.

Anyone can think that they know how a certain country should be run; almost everyone in this world has political views and ideas; but not all can execute them, this is primarily due to a lack of political adroitness and familiarity with the people.

I think there’s a very important question that should be asked of every presidential candidate anywhere in the world. Referencing will be quite embarrassing but, as Janet Jackson so fruitfully put it, “What have you done for me lately?”

This question is more important than most people think, because you can always tell me what you’re going to do when you get elected, but what have you already done that makes you think that you’re a viable head of state. Written a book? No thank you. Inspected some nuclear plants? No thank you. Chose to intervene in some conflicts while ignoring others for political reasons? I think I’d rather vote for the first two.

So unless these laureates don’t think much of the people they’re campaigning to govern, the thought of running for office shouldn’t even cross their minds.


Omer said...

Kofi is actually considered by some to be one of the most successful UN secretary generals. Plus, isn't everyone entitled to run for president and allow the electorate to judge their suitability for the post? You forgot to mention Mohammed Yunus, who also ventured (briefly) into Bangladeshi politics.

Minesweeper said...

Kofi and Elbaradei are actually not terrible candidates. Though they lack experience in political positions in they're own countries they have experience in a form of public administration. At least the fact that they both worked at international levels would have given them a far more advanced vision for their countries' futures in terms of political reforms, human rights and public service provision.

Moez Ali said...

Omer: I wanted to mention Mohammed Yunus but I forgot. And yes everyone is entitled, but that doesn't mean you should do it. These people should have better judgments, specially these people.

Minesweeper: I understand, but the fact that you have experience in an international level compromises the need to concentrate on local issues. After all we're talking Third World countries. I think internal issues should be the priority. And like I said, it's Ok to philosophize about politics, but taking it on is a different story.

Also, Annan was useless. I think his success was deliberately over protracted because he's from sub-saharan Africa.