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Hope Floats in a Vote

May 4, 2011

I’ve always been a strong proponent of voting, and although during this most recent Canadian election, I was physically farther away than during past elections, my belief in the importance of this act was stronger than ever.

Malawi has only been a multi-party democracy for 17 years. That’s shorter than I’ve been on this earth, by a considerable margin. The right to vote is not a given here, like it is in Canada.

More importantly, over just the last nine months I’ve seen a very interesting, and somewhat concerning chain of events unfold around me. They are well summed up in this article written by Farai Sevenzo for BBC News. Thankfully, Malawi is still a peaceful nation, but the challenges to democracy and freedom of speech are real and apparent.

When I ask Malawians about what they think of what’s happening, there’s usually a shaking of the head, and response something to the effect of ‘In the next election we will just have to vote against.’ And the more I think about it, when it comes down to it, I’m not sure how much more they can do. The next election however is still a couple of years away, and a lot can happen within that time.

Canadians on the other hand, had a chance to vote yesterday in an election that reflected not altogether unrelated challenges, admittedly to a lesser extent. The last few years of the Harper government in Canada has demonstrated a lack of transparency, increased control, and decreased honest in the way the country is governed. Matthew Hays writes about this in a recent opinion piece in the Globe and Mail. Despite these actions, Canadians voted to give him more power and control, rather than less.

It’s interesting how democracy works, isn’t it?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2011 2:09 pm

    Yup, I’m with you on this.
    And thanks for the informative article by Sevenzo.
    Talk soon.

  2. Sandra permalink
    May 4, 2011 8:41 pm

    Interesting post Alyssa. Thanks for the article. Forgive my ignorance of politics, but what is a Malawian presidential term? Four years?

    • May 9, 2011 8:14 pm

      The presidential term in Malawi is 5 yrs, which is quite a bit of time. The next election won’t happen until 2014, but its already being talked about quite a bit.

  3. Holly Lindsay permalink
    May 4, 2011 9:22 pm

    Hey there, cousin. Sure hope you are well. There are lots of strange things going on in the world of what the modern age calls democracy. Keep your chin up and keep changing the world where you are. Love and miss you-Holly

  4. Anne Tipler permalink
    May 5, 2011 3:46 am

    Alyssa, You are so right! You have such clarity. I can’t believe I live in a country that has rewarded the behaviour of the previous government. It is very curious. Great to hear your thoughts. I think of you often.

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  1. Development Digest – 13/05/11 « What am I doing here?

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