Lukulu’s Sancta Maria Parish local superior Fr Kapya Kang’ombe says “politicians promise us honey and milk but the reality is different…It is not easy here; there is too much joblessness and it’s even difficult to see a coin. But God will fulfill His promises, we must not lose hope [and] we must not lose faith because God is going to do something big in our lives”.
But why do we so often and repeatedly believe the false promises made by our politicians during their election campaigns?
When buying a new product from market we often inquire before buying anything. Then why on earth do we believe these false promises of our politicians?
Our politicians make false promises because they know how we think. They believe that we will soon forget about these false promises. It’s very much calculated. Our politicians don’t sign any legal document while false promising us all sorts of good things which shall be challenged in court. They just have to speak.
Our politicians make false promises during election campaigns to just mobilise a large number of people to their side to win elections. They make promises in favour of public interest and after getting our votes and winning elections they start their work to fulfil their own interests, make lots of money and after five years they again come with same promises for our votes.
It is their weapon to fool us and take our votes.
They promise the poor that they will protect them from rich people, and promise rich that they will bring more benefits for them.
They promise a corruption free government system. They promise water, roads, free health services, better education, a violence free society, jobs for the youths.
Do our politicians need to give false or unrealistic promises to win elections?
The straight answer is that our politicians have to make some unrealistic promises to have a realistic chance of winning elections.
The reasoning is simple – our votes are won on promises. Promises of a better tomorrow. Few of us really want to hear about how tough life is going to remain and what a grind it will be to overcome economic and social challenges.
Can we sue our politicians for unfulfilled election campaign promises? No. Not in Zambia.
Unfortunately lying is not a crime in this country unless it is done under oath. So, the only realistic punishment available is to “unelect” them as soon as possible.
Remember that it might not be their fault that the promise goes unfulfilled. But they should at least try.
Can we do something about these politicians’ false promises?
Yes. We can stop asking our politicians to make some.
Our politicians make false promises because we only vote for politicians promising us magic solutions, money falling from the sky, magic, instantaneous end of unemployment, precarity, insecurity.
However, in real life there is no magic wand to doing all that. There are only slow, long term, small solutions. In front of an economic crisis, poverty, you don’t magically fix everything in an instant. You just lower the damages slowly. However, no one will vote for a candidate saying, ‘I will lower the damages slowly.’ They only vote for someone saying, ‘I’ll create a million jobs.’
If we want to stop politicians from making false promises, we should stop asking them to do some, not complain whenever things are not instantaneously, magically solved, start voting for people proposing less attractive but more realistic solutions and then politicians won’t be forced to lie.
In Exodus 3:17 we are told, “And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites – a land flowing with milk and honey.”
The national High Priests of change managed to persuade the wayward Tribe Leaders to offer sacrifices on behalf of their people on the altar of political expediency with promises of rewards and a new civilisation.
However, after a considerable time, many are either frustrated or have opted – out of the Promised Land theory that has failed to bring the wells of promised milk and honey.
Although the familiar phrase ‘a land oozing milk and honey’ is traditionally understood as being a hyperbolic description of lush fertility, it is a meliorative expression signifying uncultivated land. Such topography is well suited for pasturing, but not for agriculture. This unirrigated land produces natural vegetation according to the vicissitudes of annual precipitation, thereby allowing only a tenuous subsistence economy. Although ‘a land oozing milk and honey’ is markedly superior to wilderness regions, it is markedly inferior to irrigated agricultural areas. Consequently, rather than being an invariable blessing, a ‘milk and honey’ economy in biblical literature frequently signifies the aftermath of catastrophe and the disruption of a thriving agricultural society. It is the very precariousness of the ‘land oozing milk and honey’ that makes Israel’s obeying its Covenant with God an absolute necessity for continued survival in the Promised Land. The phrase is invariably used with reference or allusion to the Covenant, for Israel’s subsistence is conditional upon its ongoing loyalty and God’s reciprocal bestowal of rainfall to assure the natural vegetation required to sustain life.