Have you heard?
If you haven't, then read this. For those of you who won't bother following the link, here's the News-in-Brief.
The Constitutional Court in Thailand court dissolved Thailand's top three ruling parties for electoral fraud on Tuesday and temporarily banned the prime minister from politics.
"Former PM Somchai's People's Power Party, the Machima Thipatai party and the Chart Thai party were found guilty of committing fraud in the December 2007 elections that brought the coalition to power with a thumping majority.
The case stems from an earlier Supreme Court conviction of a PPP executive committee member, Yongyuth Tiyapairat, who was found guilty of buying votes. Under Thai law, an entire party can be disbanded if one executive member is found guilty of electoral fraud. Similar individual cases brought down the other parties."
Can you imagine that? Why can't we have such a law in our statute books?
Of course, a Nigerian court has declared a sitting government as a nullity before. (Remember Shonekan's Interim National Government?) but that was almost immediately supplanted by Abacha's military junta. In Thailand, the military has been neutral in this matter.
I have always proposed that any political party that is found to rig an election in Nigeria should not only be dissolved and banned but its leaders jailed for a minimum of ten years without an option of a fine. This effectively removes them from circulation and possible further interference in the electoral porcess. In addition, the Electoral Officers in charge of the election should go to jail and automatically lose their pensions to pay for the election re-runs ordered by the courts.
In Nigeria today, you steal an election, you enjoy it for as long as you can, stalling in the courts, with adjournments and postponements, SMS and threats. After about two years of appeals and counter-appeals, the courts finally declare you a thief. You go on TV and talk about 'nurturing our nascent democracy' and 'respecting the rule of law' and then you declare it as 'the will of God'. Then you go home to enjoy your loot and nothing happens.
That is, if you the court does not ask for a re-run of the elections which you will steal again; as a matter of course.
Of course, the INEC Chairman has told us that it is the Nigerian politicians that rig elections not INEC but we all know that it takes two to tango. According to Chief Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo alias 4.30, 'If the theifer are not thievry, the buyer will not be boughtery'. A receiver of stolen goods is as guilty as the thief who stole the goods.
I think we should begin a process of including such provisions in our laws. What does it really take to ammend our electoral laws to reflect such? Rather than sitting down lamenting that the country is going to the dogs, we should be agitating to have those laws introduced.
For as long as there are no laws to check the politicians, there may be very little anyone can do to check the brigands.
In other news, can anybody please explain what religion has got to do with local government elections in Jos? Maybe Majek Fashek was right after all: Religion Is Politics. Or vice versa.
Less than 48 hours after 387 people were confirmed dead under his watch, the Plateau Governor Jonah Jang wants to go ahead and swear-in the 'elected' politicians into office.
How callous can you be?