A political party, a group of men and women united around common objectives and whose sole aim or raison d’etre is to be the government in power, is the bedrock of representative government or democracy and the most legal or legitimate conduit to capture political power or office.
Political parties, thus, play the main role in political recruitment, mobilise people for political participation and influence the political preferences and outlooks of voters.
A political party worth its salt should be able to aggregate issues into policy packages and programmes and enable people make choices about how they would be governed.
For me, that political party will always win the race, within a democratic dispensation, which has superior organisational and mobilisation machinery, strong and well connected grassroots base, committed foot soldiers and “social workers” who have indescribable drive and actuated by nothing but the success of their party, saleable political agenda which appeals to all groups of people, a history of sacrifice on behalf of the people, mass support especially from the rural areas, women and youth, and exemplary leadership in character, integrity and credibility, etc.
I would put my money on a political party which has the following:
– Democratic leadership
– Visionary and Effective leader [ the effectiveness of any organisation is proportionate to effectiveness of its leader]
– Democratic governance structures, systems and tools
– Mass based and inclusive
– Expansive, democratic, all inclusive, strong grassroots structures and bases
– Strong organisational culture- values and political mores which are in sync with democracy and good governance and exemplified in the character of the leadership
– People centric
– Accountable and transparent to its members
– changes leadership intermittently and democratically
A good political party must know it’s raison d’etre and goes for it with all its might. As said by political scientists, the real job of a political party is “to get a government of its own leaders into office, and, if possible, keep it there”. There is no other alternation. It must also know how to stay relevant and true to form and how to keep the masses interested in its philosophy.
Demagoguery and transactional leadership may win the day but honest, transformational leadership will win both the race and office.