For years I’ve had a firm point of view regarding businessmen being active politicians. If you’d asked me, I would’ve said that’s not an ethical combination, because of the conflict of interest that may arise. As a very active citizen I believed that if you want to create positive change, the best way is to stay away from politics, especially those parties who have very egocentric leaders. Unfortunately most of the political leaders are like that; afraid to share leadership, only giving opportunities to loyalists despite their qualities and tolerating criticism.
Another reason why I always thought business leaders should not be politicians is because of the corruption you often see and hear of and the bad examples of business leaders who use their political power for their own (personal) gain.
My view changed, however, after an 4 hour discussion with a JCI member from Pakistan, while at the 2007 JCI Worldcongress in Turkey. Anwar Kashif Mumtaz is a tax consultant from Karachi and a 1992 JCI International Vice President. Anwar totally changed the way I looked at politics that way. Not immediately at that same moment, but in the months after that, after I started to look at politics from the view he suggested.
Anwar made me realize that if you really want to be able to create change, you should put yourself into the position where you can really have the impact. Looking from aside and screaming from the top of your longue may get you some attention, but the chance that you really have some impact is very small. To create the positive change we want in our community we need politicians who know how to get things done and who live a live of an active citizen. The last thing we need is people looking at issues from behind a desk and trying to find a solution for the problem of finding a solution without having to get out from their chair (pretty confusing, isn’t it……just read this sentence again :)..lol..)
So if you really want things to change, you should be part of it, and that goes for political change as well. Ofcourse this is not as easy as it sounds, especially with the kind of political leaders we have nowadays. Unethical behaviour seems to be the most normal thing for a lot of our political leaders, mostly grey, old men who think that we are still living in the sixties or seventies.
Luckily some political parties are starting to change. More young men and women are getting the chance to show what they are made of, and a lot of us hope that these men and women who will represent us are really made of the best “material”.
And then it comes, the big question that I have to answer by Tuesday, April 6th.
A few days ago I got an email from one of the founders from a small, very progressive political party who aims at giving as much as possible young men and women the opportunity to play an important role in the development of our country. I knew of the existence of this party, and also read a lot about one of the founders, who is an exemplary and succesful entrepreneur. I like their way of thinking and the plans (and vision) they have for our country. But I’ve never considered joining them yet, just as I’ve never seriously considered joining any other political party (although some people think otherwise about me).
Anyway I got this email from one of the founders who asked me if I would like to join them and be one of their candidates for the upcoming National Elections of the Parliament. To be very honest, I was very surprised, and the next day I replied that I wasn’t sure if I was interested in becoming a candidate, but I would certainly like a meeting to discuss how they decided to ask me; someone with no political background whatsoever. So I had that meeting, and heard what they had to say.
Interesting, interesting, interesting.
I am now seriously considering to join this party, and will be spending some time reading through the various documents produced by this party. By tomorrow I am expected to let them know what my decision will be regarding representing the party as candidate for the parliament or not. So the big question is “should I or should I not……….”
Launching my answer 2morrow evening, but before I do, It would be nice to get your feedback on this…