8 days to a public holiday - a right bestowed specifically to fulfil the responsibility to the community of the privilege to vote. I grew up when this was not a possibility for the majority of my country people. It was evil, and I will vote on November 1st to honor those who were not able to. (Beware, this is a longer post...but please do commit at least to vote).
Its been too long since I've "penned" here... apologies to those hoping and waiting! I will still offer a full blog about my Everesting, and share some of my mental health journey over the last 4 months.
In short, I've had to cut time on "non-essentials" to prioritize work and health, while pushing into my vision of assisting team to make a difference in the world (yes, you can still #AdoptATree, with prizes awarded once we move past 600 trees... I need 15 companies looking to invest R3000 in the future (tax and diversity points to count)). Go to www.ccfa.africa for adoptions...
Value is not a moment in time
Value isn't in the act of voting, a moment in time. It most certainly isn't in the campaigning! If value were in the campaign, it wouldn't matter about failed promises, corruption, and blatant abuse. These have been the hallmarks of the ANC and the DA.
If you don't know who is standing in your ward, go to https://mycandidate.opencitieslab.org/ and then Google those parties/candidates you need to know more about. Be selective. 30 minutes of stalking on Facebook will give you enough of an idea of the values of the people standing.
Currently we have the ANC advertising a repeat of dead broken promises and corruption. And we have the DA advertising proudly a privileged presentation of corruption and abuse led by matriculants who are "not an experiment". The former a rehash of old campaigns, and the latter using the playbook of the 1980's National Party's use of fear and polarization, are offerings devoid of value for the voter; a tribute to the finest form of consumerism pushing profit over people.
In my ward there are a total of 20 candidates (a far cry from the 10 or so last election, and the 50 in some wards this year). Why do we have so many candidates? That is a direct result of failure of the two biggest political parties. Investing hope there has proved a great loss. Even the intentions of the good people are swallowed up by corporate dictation of (lack of) value. So we turn to others who see the hopelessness, and seek to offer hope through other smaller parties or independents.
In my ward this includes some that have played a part in Nelson Mandela Bay's tumultuous recent political history turning to bed the DA or the ANC as it suits their primary personal agenda's. These also, have broken trust with many voters. The UDM, EFF and PA are prime examples, with each of them also struggling with gender-based parity in their ranks. While the EFF probably comes out cleanest of the 3 purely because they never committed to going the distance, they have too many rigorous overtones to a "revolutionary approach to politics" rather than a democratic voice, never mind their association to possible corruption in the VBS scandal yet to be fully prosecuted to completion.
Then there are 13 candidates contesting multiple wards. So who will they choose to represent? Nope, not nearly enough interest in my ward, which covers a vast geographical area and income group. But I figure that most every ward has specificities which require "local knowledge" and therefore: (1) a dedicated candidate, (2) who stays in the ward!
That leaves the following from whom I can choose:
1 - Pan Africanist Congress (PAC)
2 - Good
3 - ACDP
4 - Abantu Integrity Movement
The PAC website is still covering the 2019 National Elections. They have a rich heritage on which to call, but their current organization bears no resemblance to the organization that assisted in the liberation of Black Africa. They will require much better communication and far less disorganization to make me believe they can run their party, let alone a metro.
The Good party is headed by the serial politician, Patricia de Lille, abused by various parties she has now begun Good. Her current association to the ANC as a minister is a positive for an experienced leader, allowing a deeper insight into what is possible. There is precious little on the candidate for my ward on Google or social media making this an "invisible horse", although the party is relatively well established with a diverse leadership team (with a strong leaning to Western Cape representation, purely based on its roots), it doesn't look like a good option for my ward with no visible campaigning either.
ACDP - this is a great party to vote for if you believe in patriarchal, misogynist structures and that the value of people are represented in their religious beliefs and/or economic status. So that's a "hell no" from me - and no, I'm not asking apologies for the fully intentional pun.
Lastly, we have AIM - their candidate Andrew Stewart is a middle-aged white guy, "privilege's poster boy" so to speak... and possibly looks a little like another political leader, but the looks is where the association stops. Nobody got into AIM's volunteer ranks without the thumbs up from Mkhuseli Khusta Jack, their "Volunteer in Chief". AIM is a local, Nelson Mandela Bay-based party. Khusta has anti-Apartheid credentials second to none. He has business credentials that have survived both real depressions and the type of politically-induced depressions that come from walking away from Gedleyihlekisa (meaning: mischief maker or "one who smiles while causing you harm") Zuma's ANC after the allegedly corrupt leader cornered the once glorious legacy in "Mudville". Khusta knows how to build a team, a movement. And AIM is actually a serious contender in many wards solely on the value of the candidates representing their wards. Andrew himself is testament to this with superb organizational skills and knows how to work with a many teams under real world pressures: he runs an event support company!
My review of the Abantu Integrity Movement all sounds too positive. And positive it is, but considering the dearth of value, or the profiteering party's voice over the people's needs, in any other of the other offerings... I'm afraid anything would look good.
To those in my ward reading this... Don't be fooled by the push for the "one extra seat"... that campaign is about their power, not your rights. Vote. Even a spoiled vote is an exercise of your privilege to vote! A spoiled vote tells the incumbent that they do not offer value to their constituents and need to "pick up their socks".
Even if my candidate doesn't win, I will hold whoever represents my ward to account. I want to know the budget, how it is spent and how it is improving our lives and the lives of the wards adjoining ours. And this is because... value is not a moment in time. The right candidate will invest in our future.
Change my mind... (but adopt a tree first 😝)