A method to political madness.

THERE is a method to all this madness. The law of our land acknowledges the need for politics and its importance in forging a common future. That is why the legislature is designated as the specific forum in which political wrangling, debates, differences and alternative ideas can be debated and decided.

However, why only parliament? Why didn't the Constitution envision a political role for other national institutions? Why shouldn't the army have a political role as per the Constitution, or the judiciary for that matter?

Why has the Constitution gone to such lengths in trying to insulate the army from politics that it has mandated armed forces personnel to swear an oath that they will not engage in any political activity? Why is judicial activism in political matters frowned upon, or judgements seen as politically motivated seldom cited as good precedent? And why is the civil bureaucracy's apolitical nature extolled, or its dip into political activities decried?

It is simple, really. Politics by some is beneficial, but politics by all is not. If the army indulges in politics, who should we expect to look after our borders? If judicial decisions are based on the political winds of the times, who should one expect to obtain justice from?

If the civil bureaucracy is to act according to the conscience of their political bosses, and not their own, how will the state machinery function for the benefit of all and not just some? Briefly, if everyone indulges in political games, engineering, alliance making, breaking and fixing - whether it be the establishment, bureaucracy, politicians or judiciary - then who's left doing their portion of the work?

The problem is that when any one institution indulges in politics, it not only creates fissures and friction outside it but can also create highly charged and politically divisive opinions within. Some will say that picking political sides is wrong, whereas others may want to justify it in the 'national interest'. However, once this initial barrier of interference or non-interference is breached, the real danger arises.

If everyone indulges in political games, then who's left doing their portion of the work?

Once an institution finds political interference acceptable, or at the least tolerable, it is only a matter of time before the institution, or its members, find choosing one political leader over another merely an extension of the national interest narrative. And if an institution starts thinking of...

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