Tomorrow is Election Day in Zambia. There are about 12 candidates for president and, from what I’ve heard, over 300 for MP (Member of Parliament). Elections in Africa are notorious for getting out of hand. Zambia is much safer than her neighbors, as the nationals here are generally easy going people. So far local rioting has been limited to drunk young men from the communist party bashing whiskey bottles on car hoods. Not so bad when you compare it to South Africa’s necklacing (burning people in stacks of tires), Zimbabwe’s gun point voting stations (didn’t you ever wonder how Mugabe gets re-elected?), or Sudan’s lip and ear removals. In some of the hotter political areas (such as the towns and villages where the candidates live or come from) there will be much more violent rioting and outbursts. However, in Kabwe I think the worst we have to worry about (and we’re hoping for it) is disappointed communist party members egging our gate (that result will be worth a sticky gate).
By far the most interesting aspect of African elections is the means employed to coax individuals to vote for a particular candidate. It’s truly an incredible thing to listen to the Zambians debate who they will vote for. Here is a little something overheard at the building site next door:
Person A: We should really vote for Sata. He’s been to Kabwe FOUR TIMES!
Person B: Yes, but he hasn’t given us anything. At least Banda brought t-shirts and hats!
Person C: Yes, but Sata has promised to build schools for everyone.
Westerner: Where will he get the money?
Persons A, B, & C: Huh?
Westerner: Where will Sata get the money to build schools?
Person C: He will get it from America.
It’s truly sad to see how so many African people are educated just enough to get by, but never enough to think for themselves or to apply logic and problem solving. It is times like this that make me glad to be involved in education and leadership training here. These amazing people have SO MUCH potential. They have so much enthusiasm and so much love to give. It will be exciting to watch them develop and grow as a nation as their abilities to think are brought to the level of their ability to befriend.
God bless Zambia.