If Tutu won’t vote, who will?

Old ANC election campaign posters

Old ANC election campaign posters

I was walking past the newspaper stand at Pick n Pay yesterday to garner my weekly Sunday news papers. On the front page of the Sunday Times was the headline, ‘Tutu: Why I won’t vote’. I picked it up and attempted to glance at the article while I did the rest of my groceries. When I got home, I read the article and my initial reaction was, ‘yes I’m with you all the way’, but as I read on I realised how damaging this statement could be.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s argument is well grounded; he says he will not vote unless the rift within the ANC is mended, he goes on to say that Jacob Zuma should not accept office as president with allegations of corruption looming over his head. Tutu is regarded as one of the most respected elders in South Africa, although he makes a good argument his open refusal to vote could promote apathy among eligible voters.

As a prominent figure in South Africa, he should be encouraging citizens to cast their votes in the 2009 election in order for there to be a strong opposition to the ANC. If he won’t vote then who will? Voting is not just about casting ones vote for their party of choice, it’s about making sure that the country continues to function as a democratic state.

Since Thabo Mbeki’s resignation, along with several other high profile cabinet members, there has been talk of a splinter party being formed. I for one embrace the idea; the ANC does need a stronger opposition than the DA provides. The prospect of a splinter party is interesting and the idea seems to be gaining momentum. Lets see how this one plays out.