The obsession of politicians and parties with gaining and holding political and state power to satisfy narrow interests is endangering modern civilisation.
The challenge is for populations first, to come to the realisation that they are being leeched by the power holders; and second, to gain the courage to wrench the power from the grasp of the parties and politicians, and to begin to manage and utilise that power in their own collective interest.
Electoral politics with parties jostling for position to take control of the State and hold on to the power through "democratic means" has always been strongly competitive.
In certain countries and cultures, the competition and the overpowering desire to be in total charge of the State and its resources have led to the emergence of "strongman" leaders who take control "by any means necessary" and refuse to give up the power without a fight to the finish.
Mighty warrior-leaders such as Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Bonaparte and Geronimo took charge of their states/tribes almost by divine right, and through their powers as great warriors, military strategists and individual fighters, often defeated and killed all contenders to the throne in the process.
Monarchs in medieval times established themselves through the power of the sword and political myths about themselves; they lived off the wealth created by peasant farmers and only a contending force removed them from their thrones.
Race hatred, often justified by an overarching philosophy which denied the right of full humanity to those robbed of their lands, culture and pride, has also been the rationale for acquisition of the power.
The New World was created when wholesale genocide was carried out against scores of millions of native Amerindian peoples by Europeans who took their lands, destroyed their hunting grounds and the symbiotic relationship that they had with their lands.
The great Mayan and Aztec civilisations were destroyed by the European invaders hungry for gold and for slaves to do their bidding.
Industrial production initially involved the pillage and exploitation of the lands and raw materials of non-European peoples.
Indeed, the political powers of the world of the 20th century carved up lands in continental Africa, Asia, and the Middle East to suit their purposes.
The Russians did the same in parts of Europe to construct the Soviet Union.
Then there were the tyrants of the modern age–the likes of Trujillo, Duvalier, Amin, Pol Pot, Hitler, Pinochet and others who seized power and held on to it murdering millions of people whom they perceived as representing some form of threat against them.
But just when we thought that modern society is overcoming the "brutishness" of past centuries, political parties and their modes of contesting for the power are taking us back to the future with undemocratic and potentially ruinous means of placing and sustaining governments in office to enjoy their conquests.
Yesterday's conquerors used hard power, military might. Today's power-grabbers use soft power: propaganda, appeals to race and religion, financial conquests, outright falsities, entrenched corrupt practices, and the "rewards" of drugs and arms trafficking.
Often when today's captors get in through the ballot, it is to "rescue" a country/population from the ordeal of an incumbent regime–2010 and 2015 provide recent and vivid examples.
In the quest for office and power, the users of soft power utilise dishonest campaigning, liberally sprinkled with illogical and false arguments and accusations one side against the other.
The American media, aware of the culture of distortion, lies, and rank dishonesty perpetrated by politicians, expanded during the recent presidential campaign, then enhanced their fact-checking capacity to capture the "lies, half truths and innuendo" that were liberally spread by politicians through soft-power mechanisms to get into office and to stay there.
The leaders of our two major political parties here comprise bandits, rogues, liars, those who support international drug running and every form of evildoers imaginable; that is if you believe what the leaders and supporters of the two main parties say about each other.
Notwithstanding the alleged notoriety of our political elites, only a very limited number of matters have been brought against these "vagabonds"; not one politician and/ or government official has been jailed for corrupt practices–Is it that the methods of soft power were used to deceive to gain office?
Now other soft power mechanisms such as protection and high position are used to guard them against "jail".
Before leaving office, US President Barack Obama said "all that matters on Capitol Hill is getting re-elected."
What he did not say, but I infer from his statement, is that politicians use soft power to gain and hold office, in the process the population is fed lies and distortions.
In our Parliamentary democracy the race/tribe, the party, special interests, and the intent to win the next election are way ahead in the consideration of politicians, both inside and outside of government, compared to the national interest.
I return to where I started: how do we displace the individuals, their parties, their ideologies and means of operating?
Means which have not only led to poor quality governance and the erosion of the State, but which also poison discourse and civility with coarse and demeaning language which in turn has led to an intensification of tribal hate.
Awareness and action by a population, long marginalised, are the initial tools to be used by civil society.