A majority of the country's citizens who value peace and harmony, respect for human rights, as well as positive progress in both the political and socioeconomic spheres, respectively, are relentlessly left wondering if the country will ever truly uphold democratic principles.

 There exists the general feeling that the political arena requires urgent and thorough reform. Our country falls short in various aspects, such as establishing a fair political environment and advancing development, in comparison to neighboring nations. Some of these developing, neighbouring countries gained self-rule long after us, but have developed in an astounding way compared to our kingdom.

The key to their success is that as much as they went through a rebuilding exercise after the demise of colonialism, went through political turmoil, but in the end embraced the need to change which led a democratic dispensation. Progress hinges on change, particularly in politics. In today's interconnected world, the adoption of democratic values is often the benchmark for advancement.

As a country, the status quo still maintains a firm, political grip which is autocratic and frowns upon any calls for change. Despite having a supreme law in the form of the Constitution, the government often fails to respect it and only adheres to it when it suits their agenda. The Constitution is a vital document that affects or promotes the rule of law and protects citizens' fundamental human rights - provided the ruling regime is in sync with the will of the people.

The political situation in the country has been rapidly deteriorating as a result of the violent clashes which took place on June 29th 2021, between protesters calling for political reform and the government's security forces. The incident left a lasting impact on the nation, with many still haunted by the gruesome deaths and injuries sustained by protesters who were allegedly targeted by security forces.

Despite calls for accountability, the government has yet to take responsibility for the massacre and has instead, focused on compensating affected businesses. The aftermath of this tragic event will continue to be felt for years to come. In order to identify the individuals responsible for ordering the shooting of protesters and hold those who pulled the trigger accountable, a healing platform modeled after South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) is necessary. This platform would also provide closure to the affected families of the victims.

The division between conservatives and progressives in the country is vast, despite the fact that the population is predominantly of a single ethnic group. The leaders of the country are not making any efforts to restore harmonious relations between those who support the status quo and those who seek change, resulting in intolerance towards opposing views. Individuals who advocate for change are often seen as enemies of the state and subject to persecution and prosecution, as seen in the case of two incarcerated members of parliament and one who is in exile for over two years, now.

Despite pressure from both within and outside the country, the government has ignored calls for their release. The country is plagued by fear of the unknown, with security forces viewed as a threat to the people. Assaults by individuals suspected to be security forces agents wearing balaclavas have made it difficult for citizens to even walk freely at night.

Citizens' rights to freedom of expression and association are not fully enjoyed, as criticizing the authorities can result in repercussions. People speak in hushed tones when criticizing leaders, unsure if they are being monitored by security agents. What factors may be causing the government's reluctance to meet the demands of a particular group? The reasons are plentiful.

From my perspective, the current government has been in control for an extended period of time, operating under a one-party system that possesses both advantages and disadvantages. Unfortunately, the disadvantages of this system often tends to overshadow the advantages. In a system where only one party holds power, democracy is frequently absent and such one-party states often degenerate into totalitarian regimes.

Typically, there is no competition for power, and citizens have little or no input in selecting their leaders, except for the dubious practice of electing individual parliamentarians based on their personal merits, rather than party affiliation. The legislative branch is often criticized for lacking real power and being unable to effectively influence political decisions, and for failing to adequately oversee the Executive. In short, its powers are very limited. One-party states often have a poor track record regarding human rights, which is precisely the case in our country.

This is due to the government's lack of accountability to the people, allowing it to act willy nilly with little or no opposition in fear of retribution. Multi-party states are frequently less corrupt than one-party states. This is because there is competition for power, and the government is accountable to the people. The level of corruption in the country has reached a worrisome level.

It has evolved into a system of institutionalized corruption where policies are tailored to benefit those with significant influence. This has had a significant impact on essential services such as healthcare. There are persistent claims that the scarcity of medicine in the nation's hospitals is more a result of corrupt procurement practices than insufficient funds. The focus is now on the newly elected members of the 12th Parliament as they face the challenge of addressing the flaws in the government system.

Will they have the bravery to push for necessary reforms or will they succumb to the autocratic tendencies of the system and avoid confronting the issues that have created a culture of fear amongst the citizens? Only time will tell. We can only hope that the electorate's important vote was not for naught. It is of utmost importance that we all strive to make our country a shining example of unity.

Our current level of divisiveness is unsustainable for our political future, and we must consider the well-being of future generations. We cannot allow our country to spiral into aimlessness, whether politically or otherwise. The incoming government must prioritize promoting unity and respecting the rights of all people.

To address the immense challenges facing our nation, we must engage in an all-encompassing dialogue. Our country belongs to each and every one of us, and we must work together to advance its interests. Instead of letting those in authority exploit its resources and leaving the less privileged to suffer in poverty, let us unite and work towards a shared vision for its progress.

Living in constant fear of our own government is detrimental to our well-being. Constructive criticism is beneficial, as long as it is expressed with respect, decency, and a sincere intention to resolve the issues facing our nation.