Sunday, 4 May 2014

On the eve of election

On Thursday I walked the short distance from our house to campus for the second last isiZulu lesson. On my way to campus I saw a car with three men dressed in yellow t-shirts. ANC-supporters! I had to stop and after having greeted them (in isiZulu) I asked them about the upcoming election. They were all convinced that the ANC would get a land sliding victory. I asked them about Jacob Zuma and Nkandla and whether this would affect the election result.
We are walking from house to house on a daily basis and this is not an issue.
This is also my impression. Most of the voters do not care about the alleged corruption. A majority of them will vote for the ANC because that is what they have done since 1994. A few months ago I thought that the ANC would get close to 50% of the votes but now my impression is that they rather get 60%. We’ll see. When I talk with people and especially when I see colleagues and friends updating their statuses on Facebook I understand that the support the ANC has is still over whelming. The ANC national chair person, Baleka Mbete, has said that the ANC will get 70% or even more. This according to the eNCA.

This, the fifth, democratic, South African General Election is going to be held on Wednesday 7 May. Today a number of parties have held major rallies. The most impressive was of course the ANC rally at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. The stadium was, according to Eye Witness News, filled to capacity. This means 95 000 people. Even Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was there, says the Mail and Guardian, dressed in black as she still mourns the death of her ex-husband Nelson Mandela. A woman in that situation is culturally not allowed to speak publically. In some parts of South Africa she would not even have been allowed to take part in a gathering of this magnitude. But she was there.

One of the biggest differences when I compare election campaigns in South Africa with those in Sweden is the large number of people attending rallies in South Africa. I know that they are bussed to meetings. I know that all of them get a free T-shirt. Maybe they get free food, I am not sure. But they also enjoy dancing, singing and being together. After all it is a sign of a vibrant democracy. My view may be contested but compared with the Swedish electorate that sits at home watching debates on TV, there is a difference.

The other parties also gather people. The DA had a concert with tenths of thousands of people, according to radio the other day. But the opposition parties are struggling. They are just too many. Not people, but parties. And they have made a huge mistake, I think. They are talking a lot about corruption, which is a huge problem. But they should have focused more on their own, alternatives.

My hope is that the ANC gets fewer votes than a two third majority and that the more moderate parts of the party gain in strength. After all there are a number of very good ANC-people.

ACDP, AZAPO, DA, Cope, IFP, VF+, APC, UDM, UCDP, PAC are just a few of the parties.

ANC and its alliance partner SACP was missing in the illustrtion above.
 Not to mention two of the new parties: Agang SA and EFF.

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