Meaning of Political Apathy
Simply put, Political Apathy is the lack of interest displayed by a citizen of a country towards political activities. The word apathy was formed from the ancient Greek word apathies which means lack of feelings.
In a broader sense, Political Apathy is the indifference on the part of any citizen of any country with regard to his/her attitude towards political activities. For example, political elections, public opinions, civic responsibility, etc.
Forms of Political Apathy
- Refusal to register: Voters registration is an essential aspect of election which the electoral body takes very seriously, it is the pre-condition for voting in an election, some citizens see registration of voters as a waste of time, so people give excuses to ignore the exercise.
- Refusal to belong to a political party: political party is a body of people who come together with the goal of leading the state or country, it is through political party an individual can aspire to any political position or emerge as a candidate for election
- Refusal to fight or protest against rigging and other electoral malpractices: Electoral malpractices is a situation where in which electorate and electoral bodies falsifies and manipulate the electoral process, especially voting in order to ensure that an unpopular candidate wins the election which could be in form of ballot snatching, multiple voting etc, such nonchalant attitude helps wrong people to emerge as leaders.
- Refusal to vote: Refusal to vote is a situation whereby the total number of votes cast is very low compare to the total number of registered voters, this is the most common form of apathy, many eligible voters deliberately avoids to vote.
- Refusal to participate in electoral process: This involves participating in series of events or activities or activities such as debates, seminars, campaigns etc.
CONSEQUENCES OF POLITICAL APATHY
1. Political Apathy threatens Democratic dispensation - When a politician wins an election in a high voter apathy political election, such a winner wins with a minority vote. Such a vote doesn't give the winner confidence that s/he is a popular political representative in a given area.
2. Elections are not representative - Results of elections are supposed to be based on majority feelings. With political apathy, such is difficult.
3. Political Apathy hinders good governance and decision making - When elected political leaders win with a minority vote, such leaders feel reluctant to mobilise majority citizens in the area who might not have voted for him or her. As a result, such political leaders fail to organise good governance or community development related meetings in local communities as most of the residents might not be coming to such meetings as they feel that the political representative concerned is not a leader of their choice; and is not popular in the area.
4. Political Apathy retards community and national developmental processes. instead of a political leader to concentrate on spending more time facilitating development related projects, he or she might spend more time justifying that he or she is current ward councilor, member of parliament or a current president.
5. Another major cause of high voter apathy is that most politicians don’t perform to the expectations of the electorate.
6. High voter apathy is a vote of no confidence in political representatives as most citizens feel there is little or nothing they benefit from spending time and energy voting for someone who might benefit more from politics while a voter gets poor and poorer every year.
7. With political apathy, most elected political leaders at whatever level of political representation rarely or never go back to their respective areas to consult and work with the electorate on local community or national socio-economic needs and challenges.
8. Increased high voter apathy can erode checks and balances, accountability, rule of law, etc; this leads to bad governance.