Politics is a word form of old Greek, which means ‘citizen’ when translated. Therefore, politics can be defined as the science of governing a political entity, such as a nation, administration and control of internal and external affairs. It can also be viewed as an institution that distribute power, set society goals and make decisions (Goldsworthy 23).
Politics affect the lives of each and every individual around the world either by choice or by compulsion. Every law that is made by the government has impact on individuals who are active in politics and passive ones as well .For example, if the government enforces a law, everyone should be aware so as to avoid being a law breaker and face serious consequences. Therefore, it is crystal clear that people should care about politics because political decisions affect many lives (Goldsworthy 23).
Types of political Systems
There are five types of political systems around the word at present. They are democracy, republic, monarchical, communism and dictatorship. The political systems differ in the method of choosing leaders, formation of laws and the political parties present.
A democratic government is a type of political system in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections. There should be four key elements, namely; free and fair elections held periodically, active participation of the people in politics, protection of human rights of the citizens and law in which the procedures apply equally to all citizens. Developed countries have adopted this type of political system and they attribute their growth to this type of government. Another conspicuous feature of democracy is the participation of the opposition in running the affairs of the country. This has resulted to accountability in distribution and expenditure of public resources (Adams).
Another type of political system is the republic government. In theory, a republic is a political system in which the government remains mostly subject to those governed i. e the citizens legitimizes the government. Leaders can be recalled in this type of governance and the citizens are held very highly by the government. Some types of republic may include; capitalist, single party, crowned republic, federal and parliamentary. The United States is often referred to as federal republic (Kavanagh 43).
The citizens or representatives of the citizens may not choose a ruler but the head of state retains power until death or abdicate. This type of political system is known as monarchic. There are monarchical governments in which the monarch has absolute say in matters governance. Constitutional monarchy has the constitution, which limits the powers of the head of state as in UK, Denmark, Spain, Sweden and some others. Monarchic rule was the most common in the 19th
century and a child of the head of state inherits the seat after the death of the former
Communist state is based on the ideologies of communism taught by Marx and/or Lenin. One party or a selected group of people commonly dominates the states. The state resources are commonly taken and then redistributed to those at the top. Unlike democratic and republic, the citizens of communism system have minimal or no say to the affairs of the nation and in extreme cases, the state make some personal decisions for them such as where to live and what jobs to do. China is one of the common countries which has adopted this type of governance.
Finally, dictatorship is whereby individual makes most decisions affecting the nation. A person or a small group of individuals who are not restricted by the constitution or parliament runs this political system. The most common assumption of power by dictators is through a military coup. In contrast to democracy, elections are normally held in which there is only one candidate i. e the dictator. The only advantage in this system of governance is decision making is fast due to minimal or no legislation. Countries that have adopted this system of governance have little or no economic growth.
Methods Deployed In Politics
There are numerous methods that are deployed in politics which include promoting one’s view among people, negotiation, making laws, exercising force and warfare against adversaries .Politics start from very low levels of governance in the society such as clans, tribes, local governments, companies and institution which leads up to the sovereign states and up to the international level .A group of people who share the same ideologies in relation to issues affecting the society can be said to belong to a political organization .Therefore the political parties can be registered and have a political agendas which are similar to all members of that group.
Ideas of a political group are adopted in an organization, community, country and the world at large if and only if the political party assumes power. On this regard, therefore, a political party must strive to assume office so as to remain relevant or to enforce its ideologies to the people who believe in them. The political party may assume control by democratic process, which is through voting or may grab power though a military coup. The latter has been witnessed in many African countries among them Congo, Uganda, Libya and most recently Zimbabwe. This has given rise to political strife and war among the opposing political parties.
The subject politics is incomplete without mentioning opposition political parties. Opposition party is a political group that differs in ideologies and governance of the ruling political organization. Just like the political party in office, the opposition group must have a leader and representatives who drive the agendas as well as their convictions. In this regard, the opposition is equally important as the ruling political party and both contribute to the well- being of an organization. The opposition political parties have a duty to hold the government accountable promote and stimulate debates in parliament, to act as training ground for future leaders and to strengthen public participation in governance. Countries with strong and active opposition political groups are believed to do well economically. For instance, in USA, there are only two political parties i.e. the democratic and republic political parties. When one political party assumes office, the other automatically becomes the official opposition party. The opposition contributes in governance mainly through debates in parliament (Graber, Doris A, Denis McQuail, and Pippa Norris 34).
Another aspect that is common in politics is propaganda. Propaganda is defined as information, which is biased, or misleading in nature, which is intended to publicize a particular political group. Political groups mostly use propaganda to persuade the masses. Propaganda politics is a necessary part of political campaigns in democracy. Politics and propaganda cannot conflict with each other, nor can they run parallel to each other but rather they are inextricably bound to each other. Politics and propaganda are interdependent such that there is no politics without propaganda and vice versa. The propagandist does not need to weigh right and wrong and they do not care whether there is slight truth on the opponents side .Propaganda was one of the weapons used in American independence, and it was used also in French revolution. In Kenya for example, religious leaders are involved in political propaganda by prophesying who will emerge victorious before a political contest so as to scare the opponent from participating in an election (Shapiro 56).
Power is an important tool in political arena .Power is defined as the ability to influence and control the behavior of people but legitimate power is known as authority. The one and only way in which a political party can make people follow their ideologies is by assumption of power. In democratic countries, political parties so as to assume control over resources and citizens at large fiercely contest elections. In Zimbabwe, the opposition was forced to use a military coup so as to assume power in the year 2017 and overthrew the legitimate government.
Politics works in harmony with business either in a positive or negative sense. Entrepreneurs take the advantage of the political situation and produce merchandise with labels of political parties which they sell to their supporters. For instance, at cafepress.com, independent vendors sell political swag t-shirts, buttons, coffee mugs and under wears that display images and slogans of political candidates .The sale of election merchandise accounted to 20% of overall revenue at Cafepress. Election year affects business greatly especially in African countries due to uncertainty of the outcome (Lucas 90).
Politics affect the interaction of individuals belonging to opposing political divide. There was animosity among tribes in Kenya after the elections in 2007. Communities affiliated to the opposition butchered those affiliated to the then government and the violence spread in the entire country. It is wise therefore, for citizens who engage in politics beware not to personalize their political affiliations but rather, view it as difference in ideologies that are of best interest to them all.
In conclusion, every individual ought to acknowledge the contribution of politics in the welfare of people. Therefore, we should all formulate policies and ideologies which will benefit the community and the world at large.
Adams, Simon. Politics. Mankato, MN: Amicus, 2011. Print.
Goldsworthy, Steve. Politics. New York: AV² by Weigl, 2012. Print.
Graber, Doris A, Denis McQuail, and Pippa Norris. The Politics of News: The News of Politics. Washington, D.C: CQ Press, 2008. Print.
Shapiro, Ian. The Moral Foundations of Politics. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. Print.
Kavanagh, Dennis, and Dennis Kavanagh. British Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Print.
Lucas, J R. The Principles of Politics. Oxford [Oxfordshire: Clarendon Press, 1985. Print.