Friday, April 27, 2012

Voting: The Secret Affair

Election day is here, last minute campaigns still going on. So, I am standing in this long queue at CCU, waiting to cast my vote. So far so good but the place is a mess. Posters, fliers, little pieces of papers strewn all over the floor. It had rained the previous night so posters are stuck on the floor, in walls, on trees: practically everywhere. There are goons with whips (nyaunyo) forcing names on my face and shoving small pieces of papers with names of guys to vote for.

I am in a queue and the majority are first years. The are excited as they are relaxed, waiting to get inside and practice their first democratic right in the institution. Sadly, at this point, a guy goes up to one of the quiet guys on the line and forces him to vote for his candidate literary. Oh, wait there is a lady too!Asking, pleading and smiling to guys to have them vote for a certain candidate.

A few hours ago I heard that there was tension in Chiromo over ballot papers but am yet to confirm it. I am inside the voting area now.I see two of my Literature lecturers in the hall. One picks my student I.D and a student Commissioner verifies my name on a list, picks the student I.D from mwalimu and asks me to go ahead and vote. There are four armed policemen in the hall. Two are having lunch as one is overseeing the voting process.The University is ensuring that these elections will be peacefull even if it means guns in the vicinity to maintain order. It reminds me of a phrase that its not that the University administration doesn't trust us, it does, it is the election 'devil' they do not trust.

There are observers all around and the voting space has been reduced to a square, not larger than 8meters in length. The ballot papers come in various colours for the different candidates. It was a smooth process I voted, got my small left finger inked and walked out, in less than 5 minutes . The rest of the voting went on well, and last time I heard, the votes were being tallied at A.D.D.

Voting despite the noise, peer pressure and at times coercion is a Secret Affair. I may agree to vote for so and so but when inside, vote my choice. I bet there was betrayal, change of thought, commitment during the election but above all it was a Secret Affair!

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