Highs and lows of voting day 2009

I feel cheered to notice all the inked thumbs last night and today. Everyone at book club last night had the telltale inky stain. Pam arrived at work this morning with hers. I went swimming at the gym, and noticed the hands at the parking boom, at the check-in desk, hands getting washed in the bathroom, hands hitting the side of the pool between laps. At the bakery, at the petrol station. Lots of blackened thumbs. I don’t know what voter turnout was like nationally, but around here people voted, enthusiastically. That’s something.

And the queueing. I stood in a queue. The atmosphere was relaxed, patient, friendly. The IEC guys were friendly and they knew what they were doing. There was no anxiety; nor was there the kind of embittered pettiness I encountered in every queue in the UK, whether applying for a passport or waiting at a supermarket checkout. I got the feeling this was something worth waiting for. That’s something.

I heard the head of the Independent Electoral Commission giving a media briefing today. No intimidation recorded. No deaths. Every single polling station officer got home safely. You could hear the relief in her voice. This may be the New South Africa, but we all expect a bit of backward behaviour in the sticks. It didn’t happen. Not even with the likes of Julius Molema stirring up retrograde tribal mindlessness. Yep, that’s something.

The results aren’t in, of course, but it looks like the ANC is heading towards that 2/3 majority. I heard a politician on SAFM today objecting that it’s “just racism, just twisted logic” to be concerned about the possibility that the ANC might have so much power that they can change the constitution. “The ANC doesn’t need a 2/3 majority to change legislation in this country,” he said. “They just need a majority to make changes to legislation. It’s just the Bill of Human Rights, just the Constitution that needs that two-thirds.” Just the bill of human rights. Silly me! If that’s all it is, why are folks so concerned? Hmm.

And now the waiting comes. Which little Davids are going to team up to try build a worthy catty to hit the ANC Goliath, if not in the temple, at least in the ankle from tiem to time? Which are going to dilute matters with mud-slinging and name-calling? Where is this power-hungry, rabidly hostile-to-criticism ANC going to take us next? The Zuma days start here.


About Lisa

I live in South Africa with my husband and two small children, doing things, thinking about things and sometimes writing about them.
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