POLITICAL PARTIES ARE EQUAL IN A DEMOCRATIC ELECTION
The person who matters in an election is the voter. All political parties contest the attention and decision of the voter. The voter is god during elections.
The voters cannot optimally exercise their power or choice if they are not informed. That choice will not be an informed choice. Campaigning by political parties is supposed to provide information about the parties to the voter. Unfortunately, political parties do not always provide information to the voters. More often than not, a lot of electioneering that goes with misinformation and misrepresentation takes place. That tends to cloud the decision of the voter and diminish the quality of democracy.
The democracy waters are muddied by the fact that political parties do not have equivalent resources to contest an election. Because of business interests, the private sector steps in and flood money to a political party they think will further and protect their profit-making interests. Sometimes this business-political party relationship becomes a corrupt one. Worse still, a ruling party always enjoys the advantage of incumbency where the processes and functions favour it in a given election.
So, it happens that a great party with great ideas that could advance the development interests of the people and the country, finds itself lacking the resources to provide the necessary information to help the voters make an informed decision. Campaigning requires massive resources. Therefore, informing the electorate is a million dollar task, so to speak.
The role of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is supposed to level the campaigning field to ensure that substantive fairness exists to the quality benefit of the voter. That is why the issue of Political Party Funding has had to go to the courts. The IEC should regulate this area. But the IEC is unfortunately dependent on the directives that come from the legislature in terms of Acts and Regulations. Where there is a dominant political party, the Acts and Regulations that govern how the IEC works will technically be determined in favour of the dominant political party. That is why the Parliamentary speaking time and party funding by the IEC is determined on a proportional basis.
There are of grave concerns for AZAPO in the role played by the public broadcaster (SABC) during elections. It is supposed to play the equalising role in ensuring that the political parties have the airtime to inform the voters. Again, the SABC is hamstrung by the broadcasting regulations that dictate the sharing of available airtime on a proportional basis. That means the ruling/dominant party will get two thirds airtime (and more) if it got two thirds of the votes in the previous elections. Add the incumbency advantage where the ruling party has Ministers and the President who must be prioritised when it comes to media coverage. All these factors ignore the reality that political parties pay equal financial deposit that amounts to R605 000 for the national and all provinces registration. Consider the fact that a dominant ruling party is sure to get back all its registration deposit because it is sure to win seats in the national and provincial spheres. Not so, for the disadvantaged political parties. They enter the electoral campaign minus R605 000, which they may lose where they win no seats.
Almost all the media houses availed airtime to political parties through the Town Hall Debate style. They said that was their contribution to help the voter make an informed decision. Having said that, the media houses turned around and said they would only avail the airtime to contest the decision of the voters to only “big parties” to the exclusion of the “small parties” that paid an equal registration deposit to the IEC.
AZAPO contends that all political parties ought to be equal for the purposes of campaigning in a new election. The Constitution makes it clear that South Africa’s constitutional democracy is multiparty based. The way things went in the past elections since 1994 show a pattern of a hardening single-party dominated democracy. That is a recipe for majoritarianism, authoritarianism, autocracy and fascism. That will be a reversal of the nature of democracy the Constitution prescribes.
The media should therefore not be shocked as and when this country degenerates into fascism. That would be what the media encouraged when it eliminated disadvantaged political parties from the electoral race. The media shall have had a big contribution in the misinformation of the electorate.
AZAPO contends that the 2019 General Elections constitute a new race in which all the athletes (political parties) must start at the beginning and run an equal distance. For all intents and purposes, some political parties start ahead of others and run only 20m of the 100m race. That is not only unfair, but it is a travesty of this multiparty democracy.
Next week Wednesday, millions of our people will go to the polls to vote for the government of their choice. As AZAPO, we would like to urge our people to do the sensible thing and vote for AZAPO.
But why should people vote for AZAPO? Here are some of the reasons why people should vote for AZAPO.
As we have said in the past, AZAPO is not an alternative but it represents the truth. There can never be an alternative to the truth. AZAPO is the truth in that it is the only movement that is the genuine custodian of the aspirations of Black people. It is the movement that has as its core mission the restoration of dignity of Black people and will work tirelessly at getting rid of any obstacle that undermines Black dignity.
The first obstacle that undermines the dignity of Black people is that Black people have been robbed of their land by European settlers and have lost ownership and authority of the land of their forebears. It is this land dispossession that is the primary source of poverty of Black people. Because Black people have no land, they are poor. They are forced to live in shacks in overcrowded shanty ghettos such as Gugulethu, Alexandra, Snake Park, Chris Hani and Ivory Park. AZAPO has to reverse this.
The brutal land theft has also reduced the capacity of Black people to be economically active. While our forefathers were great farmers in livestock and in vegetable farming, the skill of farming has been lost and the majority of people do not have farming skills, resulting in their deep poverty.
AZAPO wants to use your vote to reverse the land theft and redistribute the land to the people so that they can produce food for themselves and build houses for themselves. AZAPO will create a conducive environment for economic growth and this will result in the creation of more jobs. People who produce their own food, who build their own shelter, who manufacture things that they need such as clothing are free. And people who are free have dignity.
Armed with the potent ideology of Black Consciousness, AZAPO will unleash the potential of Black people and make them to believe in themselves. When people believe in themselves, they become masters of their own destiny and locate the solution of their problems within themselves. And when you have a population that sees itself as the author of its destiny, you have a free people. The government would not need to pass a legislation that forces people to play their own music and to watch their own movies to counter cultural imperialism. This would be a natural development.
AZAPO will destroy the colonial architecture of the economy and create an economy that serves the interests of Black people.
AZAPO will build a strong State anchored on the respect of Black people. Under an AZAPO administration, skill and academic qualification would be the key criteria and not the applicant’s political affiliation for appointment in a State department. AZAPO would build strong institutions of governance so that all people are equal before the law.
Using BC as its guiding philosophy, AZAPO will build a caring civil service. If you have a caring nurse, patients would be well looked after in public hospitals. Caring teachers would ensure that our children receive the best quality education in our public schools. Caring police officers would not abuse victims of crime but would work tirelessly to ensure that the criminals are brought to justice.
Politicians who are baptized in BC would have an undying love for Black people and their country. Politicians who respect themselves and love their country would not steal from the public purse. This is AZAPO’s remedy to corruption that has become so rife in our country.
We urge our people to vote AZAPO because in doing that, they would be affirming themselves. AZAPO is not an off-shoot of any political party. It is not a new player in the political scene. Our movement has a proud history of 50 years. This movement was formed by towering political giants such as Bantu Biko, Ranwedzi Nengwekhulu and Mosibudi Mangena. Since its formation, AZAPO has always been the champion of the interests of Black people. It is a mission that AZAPO will never betray. But AZAPO can only fulfil this mission if our people vote for AZAPO on May 8.
THE OLD SOUTH AFRICAN FLAG…
At the height of colonial and apartheid repression, AZAPO coined the slogan “Phansi na mabhunu as’thandayo”. Down with the settlers who love us! The slogan was crafted in response to the liberals who wanted to join our struggle so that they can prescribe to Black people how we should respond to white oppression.
AZAPO was clear. The liberals who believed that colonialism and apartheid were oppressive policies should rather use their energies to educate their white counterparts and not lecture Black people about how to fight oppression.
AZAPO’s position was that it was better for white people to state their honest position, as repugnant it may be, than to fool people by pretending that they identify with the struggling masses of Azania.
This week saw the Nelson Mandela Foundation taking the Afri-Forum to the Equality Court, pleading with the court to issue an order that will outlaw the public display of the old South African flag. What a waste of time and resources!
For a long period, it was almost impossible to find a white person who did not support apartheid and colonialism. After 1994, suddenly every white person was progressive and would argue that he or she was a clandestine supporter of the liberation movement. Lies!
The value of the racist right-wingers is that they are honest in their hatred of the new political dispensation. They do not hide the fact that they yearn for the old apartheid South Africa. Instead of launching legal challenges to force them to go underground, we should allow them to expose their hatred for the new political order. This way, we would know where they stand; and we can engage them appropriately.
We know who are loyal to the old South African flag. We know that this group is against Black majority rule. We know that this group is against land repossession and economic transformation. Our role as society should not be to force them underground, but we should expose their immorality and show them that the only way we can have a stable and prosperous country is when we have adequately addressed the legacy of colonialism and apartheid.
One more thing we can learn about the arrogant display of the apartheid flag by the right-wingers is that there must be some power base on which their racist arrogance is anchored. That is because they still enjoy the economic power, which makes the wealth and income gap to be in their favour.
That power is demonstrated by the fact that Black people are made to sing the colonial Die Stem, which is a reactionary song that celebrates land dispossession and slavery of Black people. The irony is that the Nelson Mandela Foundation knows everything about how that racist anthem was mixed up with Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika. That is perhaps why the Foundation will see no contradiction in proudly embracing one apartheid symbol (Die Stem) and rejecting the other (racist flag).
For as long as the development of Black people is postponed, white people will continue to despise Black people. They will continue to call us monkeys; and we will continue to run to the Equality Courts to complain that whites call us monkeys. The real problem is to be treated like a monkey. If Black people were not treated like monkeys, they would not be called monkeys.
If Black people were in power, nobody would call them monkeys. Similarly, nobody would be flying apartheid flags if Black people were in power. Everyone would know their place.
If Black people were in power, they would not be relying on courts of law to enforce equality. They would use their political power to lift themselves to positions of economic development that would make them equal to others in society.
Black Power is the most reliable equalising weapon in a white supremacist world. With Black Power, you are assured that the real fight would be taken to institutional racism which gives rise to individual white racists. Once we floor the racists, there would be no one to fly the apartheid flag.
To print and read the pdf version, please click here ⇒ AZAPO Voice Volume 2 Issue Number 18
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ONE AZANIA ! ONE NATION !