Who’s smiling face should we choose?

2009-02-19 00:00

Jacob Zuma has my six-year-old daughter’s vote: “I like his face. He is smiling. He looks like a good man. I would vote for him to be president.” My three-year-old son is not so sure: “Who is that man hanging on the lamppost? I don’t like him. He looks like a bad man”.

“What does it mean to vote?” As we drove I started to explain: “Well, it means that we all get to choose which party, and which president, we want to rule our country.” “Will he be the president of Pietermaritzburg or of everywhere?” “He will be the president of the whole of South Africa.” “Will he earn lots of money, like R1 000 per month.” “I think he’ll earn a bit more than that.”

“But how do we know,” my daughter asked, suddenly worried, “which one of those men, on the posters, will be good?”

Well now there’s the question, my girl.

The question that we are all trying to answer. Which one of those smiling faces, hanging colourfully from every available lamppost, is actually going to be good?

Is Jacob Zuma going to be good? Is he going to serve his party and his country? Or will Terror Lekota be better? Will Cope provide the kind of genuine opposition that the ANC needs? Should I vote for them so as to keep the ANC on their toes?

Or is Helen Zille more likely to be good? She’s proven her ability to govern in Cape Town and she’s proven her ability to harass the ruling party. Should I vote for her? And then what about the ACDP? I like some of their policies. But would they ever be taken as a serious force in this country? And would a vote for them just be splitting up the opposition? And if they got some power, would they still be good?

It all gets very confusing.

Who should I vote for? What’s the right thing to do?

My daughter interrupted my political musings to inform me that it wasn’t easy for the president either: “He’s got a big job. He has to find everyone work and then make sure that everyone does their work well. He’s got to look after the police and make sure that they don’t put other policemen in jail, instead of robbers.”

That’s true. It’s not an easy job. Who is up to the task? Who should I choose? Who will be good?

“Why don’t you vote for Buthelezi?” my friend’s seven-year-old asked. “He says on his poster that he’s the right man for the job.” Ah well, the boy has a point. I mean if he says he’s the right man, then of course he must be?

“Jacob Zuma. I like that name, Jacob Zuma, Jacob Zuma.”

My daughter has weighed up her options and made her choice. Now I must make mine.

But I need to look a bit further than the sound of a name.

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