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Saturday, June 22, 2024
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Dissent is the bedrock of democracy

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Democracy is defined as a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. It can also refer to the control of an organization or group by the majority of its members.

From the above, it could easily be understood that democracy, by default, relies on dissenting views and opinions. As human beings are not the same and can never have the same opinions or views on any one thing, it follows that for democracy to be successful, there have to be different opinions and they must all be given due regard.

Of course, this brings to the fore the issue of freedom of expression. The people in a country which purports to be democratic must have the ability to express their views without fear of any repercussions. When this happens, different opinions and views are expressed on issues and the best be chosen. That is how progress happens.

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This freedom of expression is even more pronounced when it concerns political speech. That is why politicians, both the ones in the ruling party and those in the opposition, has a lot of leeway in expressing views. These views may be pleasant or unpleasant, but they all must be respected and given their due regard.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk in the country about something the president said. These exchanges between political parties are healthy for a democracy so long as they do not turn toxic. A large number of the population belongs to one or other of these parties and any statements that can hurt the feelings of others must be avoided.

A genuine and constructive criticism can go a long way in enhancing service delivery of the relevant authorities. These therefore, the relevant authorities, must endeavour to be open-minded and take criticism positively so as to improve their performance. Those who criticize also, especially the opposition parties, knowing that they are a government in waiting, must make sue that all their criticism is constructive. It must not be just a fault finding venture.

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Together, the country can prosper and progress.

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