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‘Africans must ditch polls’


ACADEMIC, author and publisher, Ibbo Mandaza has said Africans have to find other modes of choosing leaders and cancel elections, arguing that polls have proved not to work.


Speaking at a Media Alliance of Zimbabwe annual stakeholders’ conference in Harare yesterday, Mandaza said elections in Africa now resembled virtual war between different parties.

“Events in Kenya are very profound and we need to reflect deeply about them,” he said.

“Elections have become an exercise in futility except for those in power. As long as the State in Africa is what it is, made up of people for whom the State has become the livelihood, for whom retention of power is the end and the all of politics, it is unlikely that we will have the kind of democratic processes that are familiar in bourgeois democracies.

“Generally speaking, the previous five years are always a disaster in most of our countries. So much so that it is not possible for a government to win later on and get a bigger majority than before. Even the popular Barack Obama, in his second term got 30% less than his first term. In Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe had 2,2 million (votes), double what he got in the previous elections. That alone as an election behaviour is not possible. They should at least struggle to win.”

Mandaza said another lesson drawn from the recent Kenyan elections was that the observing must begin a month or two before.
“You must be able to observe the whole process from voter registration to delimitation to the printing of ballot papers and the numbers, thereof, to monitor the election itself and, of course, the counting,” he said.

Mandaza also said the preoccupation of the media should be to see how it can assist in reforming the State.

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