The polls have closed. The country waiting for the results of the presidential by-election and if in fact, King Cobra will head to State house and take up where the Special Cabbage left off.
It was an interesting day. I spent a couple of hours wandering around
First, for some reason, it was surprising to me that the entire country shuts down for this. Shops are closed, the roads are empty ( we could hardly even fill a mini bus that usually takes 30 secs to fill), and if you have a formal job, you don’t go. I remember the last time I voted in
That democracy requires supporting systems. ‘Duh, obviously’, you would say, however, today I internalised it. In a country of 12 M people, there are just under 4M registered voters. Because of the unexpected nature of this election, the government did not have the capacity to update voter records since the last time the election was held in 2006. This meant that no new voters could be registered, and you had to vote in the same riding that you did in 2006. it means that those who came of age over the last 2 years, don’t have a voice in this. Or, in a country where the life expectancy is just shy of 40 years old, how many of the 4M will actually be around to vote? Or what happens when people move? The current news on TV is reporting low voter turnout.
There is the passion for voting here. I was inspired by the commitment of people to go and vote and the sense of pride from doing so. When I walked down the road from my house, people along the road yelled’ eh! Have you voted!”. When friends saw each other on the street, they would look at each other’s thumbs, or flash their thumbs to display the ink used to market someone who already casted their ballot. It was almost a source of pride and made me wonder, could we adopt this as a social marketing tool that would get more people out and vote? ( I have to confess however, that because of my travel schedule in Sept –
Democracy across the generations. Given that multi-party elections, are still recently, I saw some of the remnants of old days. Jacob, a middle aged man accompanying us on our walk shrunk away from the polling station as Hans and I walked up to take a look at a sample ballot. He had warned us that it would be particularly sensitive around the polling station as there would be security officials and who knows what they could do. In contrast with Jacob’s hesitation, we met Aggri, a young accounting student who owns a boutique along
I’m always curious about how significant events here are covered in the international media. More often than not, front page coverage is usually reseved for violent tensions like the situation in the
I’m also usually disappointed by the lack of coverage in Canadian media so I was also pleasantly surprised at the discovery of CBC’s attention being paid on the election. That subsided quickly after noticing that immediately, the headline jumped to negative association to vote rigging, rather than the peaceful months that have lead up to this, and the continued peace that currently exists as the ballots are being counted. Canada, I expect more.
The reports that Sata is leading might be true. Almost everyone that I have come across here in
More to come tomorrow!