Why Should We Vote in Africa? – By Akua Djanie

You know, I really think I have psychic powers.  Seriously. I think when it comes to African politics, I can predict the future.  I say this because for the several years now, I have been advocating a new way of Africans on the African Continent electing their governments.  For years, I have been telling everyone who will listen and forcing those who are not interested about how I think African leaders should be elected because really the current state of affairs is not working.

Let me explain.  Currently across the Continent, people are encouraged to go out and vote for the party of their choice.  Prior to the voting day and as part of the campaign, Politrikcians, their wives and other party officials travel the length and breath of their country, promising this and that to the people.   They come bearing T-shirts, baseball caps and some petty cash.  They rant and rave about what they will do for the people if given the Power as President.

They erect large billboards and put their faces on T-shirts. They plaster their posters everywhere, adding to the already filthy environment.  The people wear the T-shirts, duly listen to all the messages and maybe based on that or maybe based on other factors they decide who to vote for. Simultaneously as the various Political Contenders bypass each other when they criss cross their country, the Electoral Commission will also be on a huge public campaign. A campaign informing the individual on his / her right to vote and why they must exercise this right.

So the day to vote comes.  People leave their homes early in the morning.  Some travel by foot.  Others use the deplorable busses available.  By any means necessary people make their way to their nearest polling station, all so they can put their thump print where it matters.  For some the wait to the ballot box can be long, but hey stand under the scorching sun, they will.    They wait for hours and hours and finally get to the point where they can take that piece of paper with the candidates on it.  And make their vote.  Satisfied they go home “I have had a say” they think to themselves.

Fast forward to days later.  The Electoral Commission calls the media and amidst suspense and tension on the part of the Political contenders, the Head of the Electoral Commission makes the big announcement.  After going through the votes region by region or constituent by constituent or whatever method they use, the winner is announced.  Party X will form the next government.  Then begins the war.  The losing party will cry foul and demand a recount.

Lots of noise will be made, name calling will become the norm (actually the name calling forms part of the pre-election political campaign!), threats of violence and civil war will be made at some stage. And in some cases the votes will go to another round.  Once again, people have to go through the process of waking up early, travelling, waiting under the hot sun in a long queue and vote.  That is what happens in the good cases.  And in such cases, the second round of results seem to be more acceptable even to the losing party, even if they lost in the first round!

So in that situation, there is a clear cut winner in the end.  Unfortunately, the case is not always so simple. As can be seen by recent situations in Zimbabwe, Kenya and La Cote d’Ivoire.  In such instances both parties refuse to back down.  There will be a political deadlock with both parties refusing to accept the results as officially announced.  Neither party wants a second round of votes.  They want to be declared the winner there and then.

Then begins the game of going back and forth.  The African Union, European Union and individual diplomats such as Kofi Annan will be tasked with the job of bringing some sanity to the situation.  Back and forth they will go, first talking to one party, then the other.  Back and forth, back and forth and in the case of Kenya and Zimbabwe, a unity government will be formed, thus allowing both the winner and loser in the election the opportunity to be in Power.

And that is what it is all about.  Getting and holding on to power.  As we have seen time and time again, African leaders either do not know how to improve the life of their people or they simply do not care.  So this brings me rather neatly onto my solution.  People in African should no longer vote on who should govern them. Serioulsy.  Africans on the Continent should have no say whatever in which political party comes to power, when they do so and for how long they should stay in power because by all accounts it seems our votes do not matter.

Why should the African go through the stress of going to a polling station, vote for the party of their choice and say that party wins, they are not allowed to enjoy the victory and the power that goes with it?  Obviously what African leaders are saying is this “I do not care what the people want, I want to be President for life.”  Now in some cases as in the case of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe we can say he is justified in that he was refusing to hand over power to an opposition which did not win the elections but was being backed by Western Powers because of their own self interest.

Western Powers that wanted and needed President Mugabe out of the way so they can go about their business of raping Africa.  Oh yes, it is true that there are many factors determining who wins an African election.  Factors such as which African President will be the best puppet and dance, no questions asked, to the tune of the Western master play a key role in deciding who becomes our Leader.  And this once again lends credence to my argument that Africans need no longer go out and vote.  I think the best solution would be for the Politrickcians to decide amongst themselves.  For example and I will use La Cote D’Ivoire simply because they are the latest hotcake.  And as you read this and imagine it happening in La Cote d’Ivoire I ask of you to see it happening all across the African Continent because I believe it may well be the answer to voting and political violence.

Okay so imagine in La Cote d’Ivoire, on the day selected for voting, all the eligible political parties will meet at one venue and under the auspices of the African Union and any other relevant bodies, institutions and / or individuals a random selection will be made as to who is to have Power.  Pretty much like what Mr. Blatter does for the World Cup.  As each party arrives, their flagbearer will be asked to put his party’s name in a transparent box.

After all the Parties have arrived and placed their paper in the transparent box, whoever is in charge (and I think it should be the Head of the African Union) will randomly select from the box the name of the political party that will lead the country for the next four years.    And because it is a random selection done in the presence of all eligible parties, everyone will accept the results.  If they want to, they can randomly select for more than two terms.  After this, they can announce the winner to the general public.

And once the public have been made to understand that the Politricks have agreed to share Power this way, they will also then put all their support behind the randomly selected Government.  Because right now, the violence and death associated with African elections is far too ridiculous.  It does not make any sense to me why person A should take up arms against Person B because person A’s choice of Political leader has been deprived of his chance to take Power.   Or why Person B should take up arms with Person A because the flagbearers of the two parties are fighting each other.

Don’t these people realize that no politician is worth dying for?  Don’t these people realize that Politics as currently practiced on the African soil is all about getting and holding on to power?  It has nothing to do with making a difference.  It has nothing to do with building

roads, educating the people, creating wealth and happiness for all.  No no no.  African politics is about grabbing Power to be enjoyed by a few and robbing it in the noses of the opponent and the masses.

So the best thing for the African on the Continent to do is take a backseat and let the Politrikcians fight it out amongst themselves.  Because as is evident across the Continent whether it is Party A or Party B that is the Government, it makes no difference to the life of the masses.  No matter who is in power unless the African has a direct link to them, it will be of no benefit to them.  They still will not have running water.  The still will not have regular supply of electricity.  They still will not have a say in what deals are signed and or indeed in how it is signed.

So again why must the African on the Continent vote for any political party to come into power?  I for one have thrown away my voters card and until I see a true African leader with the spirit of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, I am no longer going to waste my time and make my thumb print dirty with poisonous ink.

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