The fact that six opposition parties in Turkey, under the umbrella tag of Nation Alliance, finally and surely painstakingly managed to field one presidential candidate to challenge the ruling party’s incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is worth thumbs up. Without any reservations, this constitutes one-up for the people of Turkey and all those who wish the country well. BUT, BUT, BUT, there is a critical aspect the Alliance has to learn and appreciate from the African indigenous knowledge warning which says: “Atakomize tahwa ikalanga” – meaning the roasting hand cannot rest until all the beans are dry. The Alliance faces an uphill task, demanding meeting an assortment of sine qua non conditions for the elections to deliver the goods.
In the first place, it must understand and appreciate the fact that it took a long time to pick the candidate. With hardly two months to the polls day, TIME remains the biggest constraint that spells the speed at which it has to plan and perform its functions for success. This is no longer the time for addressing disputes among themselves. It is the time for pursuing common goals. Individual interests not can, but must wait. There is no reason for the Nation Alliance members washing linen in public. This does not pay.
Within the pertaining media environment, the Nation Alliance must have a single source of information about its operations. Short of that, chances of confusing the electorate remain high; the results of which are clear. If people have no right information, they cannot make right decisions. In Africa, we say “miruzi mingi humpoteza mbwa” – meaning too many whistle call-ups confuse the dog. They confuse its sense of direction. They don’t serve the purpose. This should be the last thing to happen to the people taking part in an election. The electorate need simple messages delivered in a non-complicated language. There must be proper plans for using more of the social media because of Erdogan’s firm grip on other media outlets; without forgetting ways of mitigating the effects of his 200,000-strong troll army.
The Nation Alliance has to be careful with making promises to the people. These promises must be concrete and precise. They must not end up being traps. Referring to the two earthquakes that devastated Turkey, presidential candidate Kilicdaroglu promised a house for each victim on the strength of $450 billion collected over the past 24 years since the 1999 earthquake. Shelter is not all that the Turkish people need at this point in time. What will happen to the country’s derailed economy, injustices and all sorts of discriminations taking place in Turkey? What about the Kurdish issue? What really happened to the Central Bank’s $128 billion? These are pertinent questions demanding the establishment of a full Nation Alliance fully fledged team to plan a well-coordinated address to all these and other issues.
There is one thing that has always escaped the world’s attention during Erdogan’s 20 years at the helm of power. Like other dictatorships in-the-making or on stage, the regime has all along created disasters on which to survive. Aristocratic rulers have a symbiotic relationship with disasters. This is why Erdogan came up with the Ergenekon Terror Organization to play on the tender nerve of the Kurdish people and the made-to-fail July 15, 2016 coup blamed on the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) – the concoction that has resulted into an insult on two million people directly and eight million others indirectly. The ‘FETO’ disaster tangent has led Turkish mothers to see their “Gulenist-branded” sons and daughters as criminals. Because of it, relatives in Turkey have hated and mistrusted one another. It is the duty of the Nation Alliance to obliterate all this from the people’s minds. It is through such created disasters that Erdogan has managed to make people forget all their ills, secure their sympathy and carry on with his dirty works, which have brought Turkey to where it is today; very desperately in need of a new governance order. The Nation Alliance must do away with all these gimmicks.
All said, polling exercises come with their own demands. Voting does not make sense if the process of securing ballot boxes and counting of papers remain fluid. This brings in the case of vote rigging, which everybody knows is a shame upon any citizen partaking in it; a sin from the perspective of religious leaders and a crime for any public official. This rules out any responsibility escape route from rigging. Currently, all signs indicate the fall of Erdogan in the upcoming election. Even Erdogan himself knows this. It is crystal clear. But it is not the verdict. Elections are subject to participants (voters and the voted for); space and time. The Nation Alliance must see to it that the security of the ballot boxes, papers and the vote counting remain within the procedures of the constitution. The question is: “How does this happen under Erdogan?”
The Nation Alliance must impress upon all bureaucrats along the polls chain – the election officials at home and abroad in foreign Turkish embassies, the police and judges — that they will be going against profession ethics, the country and the people to partake in any form of rigging. In the most likely non-Erdogan-winning event, their dirty tricks will be laid bare. They will have only themselves to blame. My country, Tanzania, has been named among the new 15 countries to participate in the exercise come March 14, 2023. My hope is that the Turkish ambassador to Tanzania, Dr. Mehmet Gulluoglu, will put his country’s star-and-crescent flag implications ahead those of Erdogan, the AKP and ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Ethics diplomacy is the better choice. To quote a little from mechanics, with the national constitution in his inner pockets, Erdogan has since lost link with the sequence of rule of law timing chain. Trained in medicine, will Dr. Mehmet Gulluoglu contribute towards enabling his colleagues who have been forced to flee Erdogan’s Turkey to come back home and build their country?
The writing on the upcoming polls Turkish parliamentary and presidential wall is that Erdogan has no winning chance. But as upcoming Journalist Cevheri Guvent has had chance to comment, “Erdogan is fatalistic in disasters, scientific in elections … He is so careful and does not give any chance to failure…” God bless the Turkey polls. But as the African indigenous knowledgeprescribes: “Mungu mbela n’agawe otaileho,” –literal translation, “God help me; but you have to play your part.” So far, it’s congrats to the Nation Alliance. But, but, but…