Voter apathy is also voting by other means

Filed under: Politics,Special Comments |
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Lungu voting during the January presidential polls

By Yona Musukwa

Today, polling stations opened for all Lusaka residents to vote in the Mayoral Bye-election. I painfully stayed away from casting my vote because I had no solution to the conundrum of who I should vote for.

From the time I attained the voting age, I have never stayed away from exercising my democratic right to vote. I hold a view that it is irresponsible for any citizen to stay away from voting, to lose trust in the value of the vote, to lose hope in democracy. I have always implored people to vote, participate, make a stand, speak and be heard. If you don’t, you are part of the problem and deserve all you get or don’t get.

But in exercising that democratic, a voter must never be reactionary, and should subject oneself to the power of reason, politically that is, based on firm principles, no vacillating for material interests or at worst, being self-seeking. Therefore, a voter has a responsibility attached to his vote, pay attention to the principles and vision of his political organization as well as the mind and vision of the political leaders seeking his vote.

As a voter and Lusaka resident, I was in the political market for a candidate with coherent and convincing arguments, with robust sustainable economic activities and programs for the greater city of Lusaka. I paid attention to all the 9 candidates, waiting for a signal, but all I heard was sound bites, people speaking English and politics. Their pronouncements were far from convincing, but a little more charming for erections, not elections.

And I had to ask myself; of what value is voting for these people? Should I vote for the sake of it? Of what value is such a vote, to me and society? Is a cast vote, at certain instances, far useless than a vote not cast? Is voter apathy not another way to vote by other means? Is it a must that no matter the hopelessness of the candidates on the ballot paper or their empty rhetoric and political hot air, a voter must cast his vote?

Voting should never be like throwing a rock in the bush and you start waiting to see what jumps out.

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31