17.12.2014 Feature Article

The Game Polytricks

The Game Polytricks
17.12.2014 LISTEN

I BELIEVE almost everybody has ever had a favorite subject or topic while in school. I was not too comfortable with courses like syntax and phonetics when I was studying Linguistics in the university; but I enjoyed morphology very much.

To those who do not know what morphology is; it is the identification, analysis and description of the structure of the smallest meaningful unit of a word of a particular language. Root words, affixes, parts of speech, etc therefore fall under the study of morphology. As a morphologist, I decided to analyze the word “polytricks”. I found out that “poly” which comes from the Greek word “polus” and means “many” or “much” is a prefix. The word “trick”, which could be used as a verb and a noun but in this case used as a noun is “thing done in order to deceive or outwit somebody”. The “s” which ends “trick' indicates plural.

Therefore, bringing “poly” and “tricks” together, we can conveniently say that the word “polytricks” means “many ways of doing things to deceive or outwit somebody”. We aren't done with of our lecture in Linguistics/English yet. One more thing: There are some words which sound the same but are spelt differently. These words are called “homophones”. The words “politics” and “polytricks” could therefore be said to be a good example of a homophone. But apart from the fact that the two words are homophones, some people hold the view that politicians are also “polytricians” Put bluntly, they see politicians as tricksters.

In order to know what politics is all about and whether those who think politicians are tricksters have any justification, I did a little research by making reference to the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia. According to the encyclopedia, Politics comes from the Greek word “politikos”meaning "of, for, or relating to citizens" and it is the practice and theory of influencing other people on a global, civic or individual level. More narrowly, according to the Wikipedia, politics is achieving and exercising positions of governance — organized control over a human community, particularly a state. Furthermore, politics is the study or practice of the distribution of power and resources within a given community (a hierarchically organized population) as well as the interrelationship(s) between communities. It continues to state that a variety of methods are employed in politics, which include promoting one's own political views among people, negotiation with other political subjects, making laws, and exercising force, including warfare against adversaries. The encyclopedia again states that Politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments, companies and institutions up to sovereign states, to the international level.

From the above definition, it is obvious that politics is not a “dirty game” as some people believe. But are those who hold that view not justified to an extent, considering the way some [many??] politicians behave? We cannot deny the fact that right from the level of student politics, through local politics, through national politics down to international politics, some politicians use all kinds of unacceptable strategies and tactics including vilifying and maligning political opponents to win power.

I witnessed an incident while on campus. A Student Representative Council (SRC) presidential contestant, who was doing very well at the early stages of his campaign and won the admiration of many, had to abandon his campaign to follow up on his testimonials from his former schools to prove to the student body that he was not a rogue; and that he had never been sacked from any of his former schools for rape as alleged by one of his fellow contestants. There was even news that he entered the Sixth Form with a fake certificate. Instead of concentrating on his campaign message, he used the greater part of his time trying to repair his reputation, which he considered to be unjustifiably damaged. In fact, he moved from one Hall of Residence to the other, posting copies of his testimonials on notice boards. Unfortunately, his opponents had already gone far with their smear campaign, making it very difficult for the gentleman's damage control to have any effect on the electorate. That is how far some “polytricians” can go as far as destroying the reputations of their opponents are concerned.

In order to win votes, some of these “polytricians” make unrealistic promises that they know very well they could not fulfill. Another strategy is that they pretend to be the most affable, and respectful persons on earth, when seeking votes. After they got the political power that they wanted, you would not need to consult any dictionary to know the correct meaning of the words; arrogance, pride and disrespect. To demonstrate to the electorate that they cared so much for them, some of them never missed any social gatherings such as weddings, funerals and graduation ceremonies during their campaigns.

They did not only attend those functions; but they also made huge donations. Some people may argue that it is through those gatherings that they “sell” themselves to the public. Well, I may agree, but my question is, if they cared so much for the electorate as they would like them to believe, why then do they refuse to pick the calls of those very “loved ones” and in some cases change their phone numbers after they got whatever they wanted? Is that not trickery?

The sad thing that breaks the hearts of many people is that some of these “polytricians” use their positions to milk the very people who elected them into power. They shamelessly indulge in corrupt practices. Whiles they tell the masses to tighten their belts because the times are difficult, they either loose their belts or in some cases they do not have any on their waists at all.

It would, however, be unfair to paint the picture as if every politician is a trickster and corrupt. There are very decent ones who go about their duties professionally and diligently.

Politics is about development. Politics is to ensure and guarantee the safety, security and welfare of the citizenry. It is not and should not be an avenue to enrich oneself to the detriment of others through lies and deception. Those who are into it should remember that what they are practicing is called politics and not “polytricks”.

Writer's E- mail: [email protected]
The writer is an archivist

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