Monday, 04 May 2009

Why & How I voted (or not?)

At the time of registration for the 2009 general election early 2009, I did not registered for a number of reasons to be discussed later. However, in 2004 I had registered in one region different to which I voted in this year’s election when I cast my vote or the second time after 2004 elections, both provincial and national.

While registered at Baga-Mothibi in the North West province – a region that threatened not to vote if they were refused to be demarcated into the Northern Cape whose everything from health and financial services they depend on – due to the electoral legislation which allowed one to vote in a region not registered at, I was able to vote in the Rustenburg region on the 22nd April just after 9 pm in the evening.

Just a night before voting, a friend of mine SMSed me: “...don’t forget to vote wisely tomorrow...”

Unfortunately or not, I replied to his sms which he unfortunately did not receive due to network problems and it read:

Talking about voting, I decided to exercise my ‘right to... vote... not’. And @least I made a choice not (sic) matter how unfortunate it may seem to u or others. I have valid reasons, I must say – in my own view only – for the choice I made and it surely must be respected just like I will do urs & others (choosing 2 vote or not). And I will never stop writing (reference to writing in this blog) or complaining 4 as long as I will be a South African. Pity I took a different choice in ‘participating’ [in] the democratic South Africa. My being confused now than in the previous elections had an enormous election choice [sic], or lack thereof hence I could not just give my vote to any party/person. Plus, I’m not alone, I have discovered, not that I’m proud of it. Or at least I have reasons, and am not sure about others”.

At the time of writing, I heard two people confirming they had not voted: because it was obvious who was going to win the elections (African National Congress, hopefully, I thought to myself) as a result, their vote – whether agreed or not – would not have mattered or made much of a difference any way.

The previous day, a day after voting, another friend SMSed me: “I wonder whom (sic) u hav vote (sic) for, as [a] political analyst”. As for whom I voted for yes I understood, but as for being a ‘political analyst’ I’m not sure, or does this blog speak for itself?

Their views on why they decided not to vote is the same view which I had held before voting, and until a colleague of mine advised that it was possible for me to vote ‘nationally’ just as long as I was registered in 2004 and lived in the same province at the time of voting presently.

One must admit that, especially me, it wasn’t much of a difficult thing knowing who would be leading SA government after elections because – just like the two non-voters I had encountered – it was obvious. However, that does not mean I had voted for the ruling party, ANC, and even if I did, who cared? DA, COPE, really? Whatever!

Having seen a long queue in the morning of the 22nd April on the date of election, I decided to come in the afternoon or not at all because who would have known or how would have one known if I had voted or not, and who cared? Did you? I doubt!

It took less than thirty minutes for the IEC official to check whether I was a registered citizen before casting my vote. The queue was not as long as it was that morning. Instead of going there alone – not that I was afraid or anything like that – I took my friend with, Tshwaro, who had visited me that day for the long weekend, and advised him to vote too because like me: we were in the area we were not registered to vote in, and were not sure whether we were eligible or would be allowed to vote or not, plus, we came from the same area, Seoding village. By God’s race, we fortunately voted.

Making the X-mark
For someone who has probably never voted before, it may have been difficult having to cast your most important and quite significant vote next to a politician’s (some greedy and immoral; while others corrupt, talkative and stupid) face in a ballot paper – many of whom we’ve come to know as ‘anti-this, anti-that’, ‘anti-revolutionalists’, ‘detractors’ through media reports.

For someone like me as a second-time voter, it was a matter of ‘this [a politician] owing me’ because I would have given him my vote despite the views held of him by many in our society – whether ‘anti-this, anti-that’ or detractors for that matter.

More than that, my X-mark next to a potential presidential candidate was about:

  • Whether at least a 95% of a better life for all would be achieved if allowed space and resources and working together,
  • Whether every piece in the Constitution – as the founding principle of our democracy – would be respected, not tempered with, but rather promoted and protected. Most importantly, not changed to suit a particular personality (cult),
  • Constitutionally, we shall all continue to be equal before the law and shall be treated as such, and nothing less,
  • Whether a substantial investment would be put in sectors such as: education, job creation, entrepreneurship, infrastructure development, trade and industry, farming and mining. Most importantly, in the poverty eradication and alleviation measures and programmes and the economic growth and development,
  • Whether discriminatory policies – be anti-white, or anti-black – could be looked at in order to curb the tendencies of escalating the racial and economic discrepancies witnessed in the country presently,
  • Lowering a tendency of relying (unless, benchmarking) western methods of everything without localising such to the present circumstances,
  • Any other aspect of taking the country forward, which would be deemed of high importance.

In deciding which party I could have at least voted for, it was difficult because:

  • All political parties in South Africa – except the ANC as a ruling party – are opposition and not alternative parties. This ‘opposition’ gives the impression that they do not have anything alternative to over voters, except opposing propositions (or is it imposition?) from the ruling party,
  • It was during the electioneering campaigning that many political parties, with the exception of the ruling party, attacked the ruling party instead of offering potential voters an alternative to the ruling party, ANC. This may have alienated many of its potentially sympathetic voters,
  • Except the ANC, many of these political parties have never run a government, let alone a country, or worse, a province – so who would really believe that they have what it takes (despite to a certain extent the ANC having known that weakness in the past 15 years as a ruling party), to run a country.

During the registration period, I checked my voting status from the Independent Electoral Commission and whether I was legible to vote or not. Fortunately, I was legible to vote.
It is as a result of these opinions and points as mentioned above that led one into making voting choices arrived at that at the time of voting.

As a ‘never confirmed individual’, it is likely to happen in the future that I would vote for the likes of DA and COPE. However, until these two get their ‘acts’ together and not give potential voters as ‘racist’ and ‘power-mongers’ – I will continue to vote for ruling party as the only party I see fit to undo the mess it created and no other party. Or, I will decide to keep my vote and let no other party have it.

I had a right to which political party, as this right’s enshrined in the Constitution of the Land, to vote for during this year’s general elections. Never, never ever, just me on the basis of my capability of reasoning, outperforming, and doing any tasks given with the belief and faith that I can and will do that satisfactorily without fear or favour.

NB: My vote is a valuable ‘asset’ that can be withdrawn from whoever it was lended to if it taken likely, not invested in and developed.

One of the most reasons I decided to vote is:

I became the change I wanted to see by being the change through voting. Also, at least one day I can say I will not vote next time because when I voted, my vote was taken likely and not seriously as it should have been, and would therefore withdraw my vote completely (or not?). And at least I will have to change by voting unlike not having voted at all.

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