/ 15 March 2013

Why I couldn’t be bothered to vote for the new Constitution

Why I Couldn't Be Bothered To Vote For The New Constitution

The radio DJ on Star FM seemed quite psyched about the referendum. She's so excited, she says, she and the "girls" are taking their garden chairs and umbrellas out to the queue at the voting station.

Well, I think to myself, add a braai while you're at it. Garden chairs, umbrellas, a braai. But no voting queue, and no voting station. In fact, no voting at all for me.

Not that there are many people asking why I am not voting. Many people are just as blasé as I am. But if they did ask, I wouldn't have a really deep answer.

My reason, quite simply, is I that cannot be bothered. This will be our eighth poll since 2000 — an average 1.6 of these every year — and, frankly, it's all getting a bit boring. Politicians can call every poll a "watershed" all they want in order to justify their relevance, but we are all getting rather weary.

Our elections are hardly ever about issues; if it's not about Zanu-PF's bid to beat and bore voters into submission, it is the divided opposition quarrelling about who among them is the best at opposing President Robert Mugabe.

I have read the draft Constitution, a privilege sadly not enjoyed by many who will vote on Saturday, and it is a good start.

Many of my friends are voting. Some because they like the draft, and others just because they happen to be supporters of one of the parties involved, and their party said they should vote. Another friend will not vote, because she has "no idea about this whole new Constitution thing".

I asked a friend about his plans. "I am voting 'Yes'," he said. "Can't afford any more fuel increases." He's referring to Finance Minister Tendai Biti's recent announcement that the duty on petrol and diesel would go up as part of an effort to raise cash for the elections.

It is a compelling argument; voting so that we rid ourselves of this process and look to the future. For a moment, I am tempted. But there will be an election in a few months' time. Maybe I can vote then. And, who knows, maybe we'll have another one next year.