The mandate given through the ballot box should not be used for personal aggrandisement

 

By Kennedy Mapesa Mandaza

The local government elections recently held elections in South Africa had drama and lots of lessons for the liberation movements in the region.

As has become the nature of elections in the world, regardless of development stage, there were allegations of election rigging, political party agents not signing documents alleging that the counting was improper, recounting of ballots as well as political and service delivery protests.

These events, however, did not change the course of the election.

While there was talk of many youths having registered to vote, only about 46% of the registered voters casted their votes.

This shows an almost 10% decline from the previous elections.

This trend of voter apathy is not unique to South Africa. It is a clear statement being made across the world that the desired change may not be packaged in an election process.

It is incumbent upon governments and civic organisations to educate people on the importance of participating in the electoral process, because not doing so will not bring change either.

The biggest lesson we draw from the election results is that, if people are not satisfied with the level of service delivery, they will punish you at the ballot.

The voters in hung municipalities did exactly that. They are not happy with the issue of service delivery, corruption, nepotism, cadre deployment, poverty, inequality, unemployment and of late electricity loadshedding.

 

 

Whichever administration that comes in will have to demonstrate its resolve and capacity to deal with these issues. Failure to do so, the 2024 national elections will relegate them to history.

Elected leaders should heed the lesson that they are elected to serve the people and improve the lives of the people they serve.

Therefore, the provision of services is of paramount importance. Issues of housing, water, electricity, health, creation of an environment conducive for business among others should take priority once in government. The mandate given through the ballot box should not be used for personal aggrandisement.

Liberation movements such as the African National Congress knows too well that the motive force for waging the liberation struggle was to serve the people, to deliver them from the shackles of poverty. To abdicate this responsibility results in the people punishing the party because of the ills of individuals.

Having said this, the campaign period was the most exciting part of the election process.

It gave leaders of all political parties to visit areas they would not normally visit.

The door-to-door campaign, meeting with people and hearing them in person was quiet insightful and enlightening to leaders who cared to listen. They were able to see and experience what people go through every day.

These visits should not only wait until the eve of elections. Leaders should time and again visit the people they serve in their communities. They should not divorce themselves for the realities of the daily lives of the people. Doing so will only serve to alienate themselves form the people’s votes.

 

 

Voters, who are the people, both young and old, want service delivery, an improvement of their living conditions, employment, fairness and equity in resource allocation.

They abhor corruption, nepotism, unemployment and other ills that seem to be nurtured by the people they would have entrusted with their votes.

There is no better way of winning the people’s votes than addressing their aspirations and hopes through adequate service delivery and improving their livelihoods. This is the best way of campaigning to win an election.

 

Mr Kennedy Mapesa Mandaza is the ZANU PF SA Spokesman. The views and observations expressed are his and do not represent the views of the organisation he represent.

 

 

 

 

 

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