Sunday, October 31, 2010

Election Day

October 31, 2010 is Tanzania's election day.  It is its fourth national election since multiparty democracy was introduced in the early 90s.  Prior to the 1995 election, the current incumbant party, CCM (TANU its prior name), has been the only legal party since independence, causing a misconception amongst the Korean volunteers that Tanzania prevoiusly was a communist country.

Citing electoral violence in Zanzibar and Kenya in the past, the KOICA Tanzania is freaking out, and advised all volunteers to stay clear of polling stations.  As an avid student of democracy, I could not resist the temptation to take a look.  In fact, with Sabasaba Secondary being the polling station, and with me not taking the office's obsession over security too seriously, it wasn't such a difficult task.
 Polling station / classroom

Democracy in action

Mama showing me how it is done.  It's the left pinky.

And as a bonus, four chicks from the neighbor greeted me upon my return.

Much like the 2008 US Election, observing a foreign country's democratic process has been exciting, and has encouraged me once again over the merits of democracy.  I have particularly enjoyed the conversations I had with my colleagues, friends, and strangers over who to pick.  I have told others that although I am ineligible, I would definitely not vote for CCM, as I believe that they have stayed in office for too long, and must have a tremendous sense of arrogance that the country belongs to them, rather than the people.  Unfortunately, there is little doubt that CCM and Kikwete will be voted as the leaders for the next 5 years.

For all those interested in TZ politics, here's an article on BBC:

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