South Australians and Tasmanians head to the polls on March 15 to choose who will govern them for the next four years. In South Australia three candidates from African backgrounds are standing for election… truly a positive sign, demonstrating the openness of the society we find ourselves in.
We should use this as an example and an opportunity to adopt a mature attitude toward electing our leaders. Leadership should be based on merit, because as obvious as it may appear, nepotism has been a major hindrance to the socio economic development of Africa. To a certain extent it remains evident in some community groups existing here in South Australia.
Leadership struggles have fractured these groups – groups that were meant to connect and support us in an ‘alien’ society. Some no longer function because vocal members can’t handle the concept of democracy – can’t support someone of another tribe, or clan or family – and selfishly try to recreate the worst of African politics in our new country.
These throwbacks to another age ignore the universal issues which affect us all and which override the petty swaggering of local community office bearers. Yet, we forget to query how these prospective leaders intend to improve living conditions, reduce household expenses, or attack discrimination and inequality. Instead we attack each other over some long-past feuds and elect only those who share our narrow-mindedness.
Why can’t we learn from the electoral system of this our adopted country? Here we vote peacefully and secretly – without fear or intimidation. We have the freedom to assess and analyze different parties and candidates and allow them the opportunity to earn our vote.
We must not let the attitudes, the inequalities and the history of African political tragedies continue to stifle the freedom and the rights which Australia has given us.
SALT Magazine urges you, its readers, in South Australia, Tasmania and wherever else you may be – embrace an approach to politics where you vote only for those who you believe will get the job done, no matter their skin color, gender, race or culture.
We wish all the candidates good luck.