Thursday, January 28, 2010

Know your Em-Pee!

There is a general election coming up and if I can get my act together, I might just get to vote for the first time in my life. I am excited- for the past two elections the establishment has told overseas Tanzanians that it doesn't have enough money to help meet their democratic right to vote. The same government that orders fleets of Toyota Land Cruisers as often as I get a haircut. Whatever. I have been casting around for a party to support at the ballot (this is not going well) and I am keeping an ear out for news that independent candidates will be allowed (this is not going well either)>.

As part of my preparation, I skimmed the intertubes for news of my MP. A little late in the game, but like many I find that my legislator is of no discernible use to me outside of election years. Also, I live in Kawe which is full of disinterested middle class folks- too busy running businesses, "paying" taxes and creating employment, too suspicious of politicians, too few of us anyways. Since 'rich' constituencies are practically self-running, I can keep my opinion of Ms. Mlaki to myself. For the upcoming elections, it is going to be tough hitting the right note: a) support a female or feminist candidate without strengthening the CCM stranglehold, b) don't sell the vote for a bag of rice or t-shirt or pair of khanga either, but negotiate for a park/public school library/regular road maintenance, c) back an intelligent, committed and outspoken leader who shows up to Bunge sessions and reads Bills before they get discussed. We're all entitled to dream.

Every five years the constitutional landscape seems to change, I guess in keeping with the population growth and urbanization trends. Dar es Salaam is about to become an even bigger political presence in Bunge> than it already is, which is fine considering we are roughly 10% of the population. I can't wait to see what the political parties are going to cough up for Kawe in particular and greater Dar es Salaam in general. What's your voting plan*?

*Yeah, and good luck to the diaspora. Your government might just let you vote, but I wouldn't hold my breath... too many VXs to buy for the campaign trail this year.

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