March 22, 2006

Voting by Acclamation

I got to talking about the elections over lunch with a colleague of mine again today. As he knows that I am found of stories, he relays the following anecdote:

Back in the days of Mobutu, we used to having voting too. Mobutu was the only candidate. They would round us up at the university and gather the crowd around a podium. On the podium, a man with a speaker asked us to clamour for the candidate if we would like to see him elected. Of course, we all had to be very enthusiastic, clap our hands with vigor and cheer for him. The next day, the paper published that Mobutu was elected with a 99% majority. We called it Voting by Acclamation.

My colleague just laughs at the recollection, demonstrating the clapping of hands like a seal in a circus.

6 comments:

Congogirl said...

This is priceless. I am linking to this entry.

TheMalau said...

I have been told about this before, haha. My Mum also told me of that day when, on vacation from university in the US, she went to vote in Kinshasa (in the 70s). One of the elections when they had a green ballot for "Yes" to mobutu, and a Red one for "No". Good westernized student that she was, she picked up both ballots, and walked towards the voting booth... she never got there, as she was pulled away by a MPR-youth officer (MPR was Mobutu's party) who was asking her how she dared to pick up a red ballot. When she tried - very eloquently - to explain to him that it was the principle of elections that people choose freely, the guy immediately sensed she did not live in (then)Zaire , and showed her a back door to leave... so she would not get arrested! Cool, no? :)

Kingston Girl said...

Ah, elections - such an interesting concept!

Red Handed Jill said...

hey 007

Beaver said...

Wow. I know I should expect that sort of thing. Yet it always amazes me.

Stay safe!

Garci said...

Dorothee...

Loved this post. Unbelievable but totally believable on the other hand.

But its true what you say... None of us can brag of a very clear or "free" electoral process.....

Hope your doing fine over there!

Diego