Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Loss of confidence

TOP del.icio.us

In the office we’ve been speaking about the value of public opinion and public confidence – and how difficult it can be to regain these precious intangibles once they’re lost. In addition to public confidence in a person, organisation or political party, there is also the question of confidence in a process and faith in social institutions. When you go and vote – despite the risks and your own sense of fear – and that vote is then disregarded for a political settlement instead of an elected outcome, what damage does this do to your faith in the country’s democratic institutions? How can this ever be repaired? And until it’s repaired, what point is there in continuing to hold elections?

We shared Upenyu’s piece Why should I vote? with our email subscribers today, and I include one of the replies below. What’s the difference between apathy and laziness? And between apathy and a calculated assessment that because one’s action is disregarded, it makes more sense not to act.

I have voted consistently since I became eligible to vote and my first vote was cast in the referendum of 2000. My father always says you should not complain about the state of affairs in your country if you do not do something. So I figured I would make my voice heard through the ballot since I was not brave enough to march in the streets or be a war vet.

I am fast losing hope in the power of my voice being heard through the ballot. I went to vote in 2008 with heart pounding and ID concealed so that the youths who were beating drums and chanting slogans at a nearby party office would not know that l was going to cast my vote without being vetted. Two years later after the formation of the inclusive government and the performance of both parties in govt, I am tempted to agree with Upenyu and throw in the towel. I guess l will just leave everything in God’s hands and hope for the best.


One comment to “Loss of confidence”

  1. Comment by Ncube:

    A democratic state is that which upholds the will of the majority of people. However, the trend in Africa over the past years has showed the high levels of disregard of the majority’s will and the increasing number of unity governments bares testimony to this. Actually, elections contestants have realised this and thus try to contest the election result in the hope that the African leaders will intervene and have a unity government set up. This then raises the question ‘Why vote at all if your will is overriden by a regional bloc (SADC/AU)?’