Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, once penned ‘political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure minds”. Political language has in the recent past been the talking points in many debates as witnessed during the surreal campaign period of the United States election with the focus being on President Trump who many critics continue to describe as ‘the verbiage of victim hood to position himself as American savior’.
Back here in Kenya, especially during such electioneering period, we are used to ‘timeworn propaganda maneuvers used by demagogues who have their backs against the wall appealing to voters’ emotions, rather than their interests’. The use of eloquent clichés and latitudes by local politicians to lure voters was evident during the political party primaries that took place a couple of weeks ago and we are yet to get more of it as we approach the polls. Such are the times when wreck less ethnic political ‘leaders’ are good at rekindling the memories of post-election violence by making hateful remarks hoping to be rewarded by their kingpins.
Political language describes who a politician is and gives the electorate the mirage of what to expect should they elect a leader. From integrity, accountability and competence, the chosen political language by any politician goes deep to influence the choices of the voters.
With the devolve system of governance language and tone of a politician can immensely contribute to the rise or fall of a politician. Though party primaries aren’t guarantee that the elected leaders will automatically clinch the seat in the general election, political language impacted much on why most of the incumbents were surprisingly and unexpectedly defeated.
Being ignorant to the fact that most of the electorate had become more sophisticated, politicians with imaginary promises and who took the advantage of poverty by giving out handouts were astonished when they were rejected at the ballot.
The tone of a politician in such an ethnic polarized country should be that which brings a sense of hope of bringing people together. History puts it vividly by telling us how the founders of this nation embraced statesmanship by championing for independence by using a language that led to the achievement of what we and the future generation will often be proud of.