The Republic of South Africa is set to hold fourth national general democratic elections on the 7th of May 2014.
These are by far the most eventful elections the South African country has ever held. South African living abroad have already casted their votes last week Thursday while special votes are on today and tomorrow.
These elections coincide with the country’s twenty years of democracy celebrations. They are also the first elections after the death first democratic president Nelson Mandela. Many political parties have used the Mandela legacy card as their electioneering or canvassing ploy and at some point there were robust political debates as who can use the Mandela name in their campaigns.
Many are disgruntled with the ruling party African National Congress (ANC) and as a result of that few formidable parties have been formed. Parties like the radical left wing mostly youth Economic Freedom Fighters (which is formed by the former ruling parties junior structures leaders). AgangSA being another neuliberal capitalist rocky party that was formed by some disgruntled former members of the ruling party ANC.
On other side extremely concerned former political stalwarts like Ronnie Kasrils, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge and others who upset with their party ANC launched an anti voting “Sidikiwe Vukani! Vote No” campaign. The campaign was message to ANC to stop taking the electorate for granted. Again a very intense political debate surfaced where threats, insults and political bickering were thrown from and to all directions. While talking to African Voices, the University of the Witwatersrand vice Chancellor and political analyst Adam Habib said the existence of No Vote Campaign will a powerful message to unaccountable politicians that electorate are sick and tired of their tendencies.
On the other hand the country’s statutory organization (Independent Electoral Commission) IEC that is meant to make sure that elections are conducted freely and fairly is involved in some political turmoil threats. This came after one of the country’s most prominent chapter nine institutions “The Public Protector” find some irregularities in moving the headquarters of IEC to the country’s capital city. Several political parties were and still are calling for immediate dismissal of the IEC boss.
The country’s national broadcaster South African Broadcasting Corporations (SABC) was and still in the mist of political conflicts spotlight. Many opposition political parties are accusing the SABC of not just being a mouthpiece of the ANC but also actively trying to censor everyone else by unfairly denying them airtime both on radio and television. As a result of these upcoming elections, the public broadcaster has been in and out of courts in a bid to defend itself.
Minewhile, the recent disturbing media statistics reports show that about one million “BORN FREES“(BORN FREES a term commonly used while referring to young South African who were born after the country’s first democratic elections in 1994) are not registered for the upcoming provincial and national fourth democratic elections.
In quest to understand why is the case, African Voices spoke to various prominent young political analysts. We wanted to know what do they think is the reasons for such a huge number of unregistered “BORN FREES”how will impact all political parties come the day of the elections and how do they plan to resolve this challenge for other upcoming elections.
Another young political analyst Zizipho Kwini heavily criticized those who want to abstain from politics or elections. “BORN FREES” that are not registered for the upcoming elections are either confused or misinformed about the country and it’s politics. said Kwini. She went on to say “Everyone is entitled to his or her own decision but the decision of not casting a vote is utterly a stupid one.”
While another hard heating young political commentator Bongani Dan Hlobo said “I think that those who did not register made a blunder. In my mind due to South Africa’s history and the nature in which even the right to vote was won, we should never take voting lightly nor for granted as the youth, the future is in our hands and unfortunately/ fortunately it’s the only way to choose who governs in our country.”
With just two days before the elections, there few places were the country’s law enforcement organizations have identify as hot spots where maybe political motivated fights might erupt.
Right now, everything looks ready for May 7th but electorate mostly hyper young people using social networks to vent this anger against one of weird new rules that says no cellphone or any photo taking gadgets will be allowed inside the voting station polling booths.
Despite all the elections utopia, most people in South Africa believe that there is very little if anything at all will change in the country’s political setup after the elections. The 102 year old liberation and ruling party African National Congress is expected to win outright win the elections.