We consistently hear about the patronage and the corruption that go rampant within government administrations. This is not exclusive to any particular region or nation. It is something that is a global phenomenon. Yet, there has not been a solution to this problem, which I will refer to as “the destructive twin.”
To figure out this conundrum, we must honestly ask ourselves this question, why and how do patronage and corruption infiltrate or permeate government administrations? To answer this question, we must look at how government operates or better yet, the dynamics of politics. To become elected in a democratic system, politicians require the votes of citizens, not money as some people tend to believe. Voters go out to the polling places and they vote for the candidates of their choice and the candidates become elected.
In an ideal world where voters are educated, in tuned to the issues, and motivated to engage in the voting process, money and political minions will be insignificant in our elections. However, in real life, the average voter is not engaged in the process; they do not follow the issues; they don’t know the candidates and they are not motivated to vote. Therefore, politicians must devise ways and means to persuade voters to become engaged in the process and go out and vote for them. In this persuasion, is where money and political minions become extremely relevant and important.
The political minions who go above and beyond in support of specific candidates in ensuring that the candidates have sufficient petitions for their names to appear on the ballots and their messages to reach the voting public are not working because they are altruistic or for the overall community interest. They are in essence making an investment with the agreement and understanding that when that candidate wins, they will receive great dividends on their investments. These dividends are usually paid in the form of patronage jobs. These political minions may not necessary have the knowledge, skills and experience require to perform the particular jobs that they are selected for. That is not important to the politician that is making the selection. The one criterion that is considered is the candidates’ loyalty to that politician. Therefore, these individuals are placed in these positions to sustain the candidates’ power and ensure his or her longevity rather than serve the interest of the community.
Like the political minions, political monetary donors are also extremely important to these politicians. Since voters are generally apathetic; not engaged in the process, politicians must find ways to persuade voters to come out to vote and elect them. Thus money becomes an important tool in this persuasion. The money is used to run advertisements that glorify these politicians and make them appealing to the voters. It is used to produce other persuasive advertising of these politicians’ messages via mailings, posters, billboards, yard signs and other devices geared to persuade voters to elect them to the political offices. In some countries, the money is used to blatantly bribe voters by giving them stoves, mattresses, fridges, chicken back, alcohol, etc. etc. Thus the donors or money contributors become extremely important to these politicians’ goal of achieving power.
Like the political minions, these donors are not altruistic or working for the good and welfare of the community. They too are making an investment in the candidate and when that candidate wins political office, they receive great dividends on their investments. These dividends are usually paid off in the form of multi-million dollar contracts with the governments, and other government projects which are usually ground zero for the corruption charges that are lodged against these politicians. Generally, the politicians receive a “kickback” (this is a payoff) from the contracts and or projects that are awarded to their donors and all parties become rich, while the poor people continue to suffer.
When you look at the process in its entirety, then one has to objectively assign the blame for the patronage and the corruption infestation in these governments not so much on the politicians and the government, but on the people who are apathetic and easily bamboozled by money and skillful use of political jargon that motivate them to elect these corruption prone politicians. There are usually honest candidates too vying for these offices, but they usually lack the support of the political minions and the money donors. Political minions or money donors wouldn’t invest in a candidate where there would be no personal rewards for their investments. Since the voting public is usually asleep and need to be beaten over the head with persuasive TV advertising, shiny billboards and expensive mailings, the political minions and the corrupt donors will continue to be extremely important in our elections. Therefore, patronage incompetence and corruption will continue to prosper.
You can catch Helena R. Edwards bringing darkness to light on her blog Straight Talk In Mount Vernon