Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
The long awaited election month is here with a kick-off of today’s voting to elect candidates into the National Assembly (the House of Representatives and the Senate). I woke up with elections on my mind, prayed, did some household chores, ate and got ready. My husband registered in a different centre so we were separated. I left the house at about quarter to 10am. I got to the polling station and saw that accreditation was already underway. There was 1 male INEC officer with two female youth corpers, 1 police man and a civil defence corp officer. Various parties also had their presence there in the form of party agents. People were already on a queue to exercise their franchise. There were two lines, one for males, and the other for females. I really am not interested in the segregation right now, it’s not a life-threatening situation just yet; the leaders who will represent us are really something to worry about. I joined the queue.
The method the INEC officers were using to accredit was such that when it gets to your turn, the official will collect your registration card and start to browse through the registered voters’ printouts on their table (about 20 pages). We waited patiently under the sun; some went to nearby kiosks for shade. Some were discussing in small groups. I tried to read the expressions of most of them. I saw a little bit of willingness to persevere and make the necessary sacrifice on some while others were simply buy-outs and were discussing money. I thought a canopy would have protected the people from the scorching sun. The accreditation continued rather slowly. An elderly woman spent close to 10minutes at the table because her name could not be found. According to INEC’s timetable, accreditation was supposed to end at 12pm. I was accredited at about 10.45am. I surveyed the situation and approached one of the INEC officers with a solution. I told her that I thought the method they were using wasn’t effective and if they would adopt a better method of calling out the names, the accreditation would proceed faster. She told her colleagues who bought into it rather quickly because it was obvious they were not proceeding as fast as they would have wanted. Many people acknowledged this to be a better method. Accreditation continued till about 12.30pm but some people’s names were just not there. The INEC officer told them to contact their office to lodge their complaints. We were asked to be on a queue so that we can cast our votes. One by one, people cast their votes. I cast mine at about 1.20pm and stood aside and observed while I waited. At about 1.30pm, some young men came and announced to everyone that the elections have been cancelled and postponed till Monday the 4th of April 2011. People warded them off with thoughts that it was a distraction by a losing party to get people to leave and then manipulate the papers. It wasn’t until 10minutes later that INEC officials got the message that indeed the election had been cancelled. They passed on the information, packed up their materials and made to leave. Many people were disappointed but there were lots of comments about their readiness to come back and re-cast the votes. Some complained about the productive time lost for their businesses. On the whole, I observed that some have taken monies from parties and were urging their friends and relatives to vote a certain party. Other progressives were talking about desired change. I left the polling station at about 1.45pm and headed home with mixed feelings and questions on my mind."Were we been fooled this April?" was one of the questions on my mind.