A group of politicians in South Africa are pushing voters to boycott large political parties come election day.
Former South African intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, former South African Communist Party leader Vishwas Satgar and former deputy health and defence minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge launched their “Vukani! Sidikwe! (Wake Up! We Are Fed up!) Vote No” campaign in Johannesburg on April 15, 2014. The campaign calls on South African voters to vote for small parties during May 7 elections or simply write “No” on the ballot.
According to Business Day Live, the campaign has attracted high-profile signatories, such as former director-general of environmental affairs Horst Kleinschmidt, former vice-chancellor of the University of South Africa Barney Pityana, and award-winning cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro.
It is supported by organisations such as the Awethu Platform, the Democratic Left Front and Democracy From Below.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) is facing its toughest test in this year's elections due to rising cost of living, unemployment and corruption scandals. The main challengers are the main opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA) and Electronic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the radical leftist party formed by the former ANC youth leader Julius Malema.
South Africa netizens appeared deeply divided about the campaign on Twitter. Some supported the effort:
Sidikwe vukani. Vote no. Retweet if we want to protect our democracy.
— Conscious Amma (@ConsciousAmma) April 13, 2014
This Sidikiwe Vukani has a v clear message: “Spoil your ballot! Ok, don't, but vote for anyone except the ANC. But not the DA, or the EFF!”
— Alistair Fairweather (@afairweather) April 16, 2014
Together with Madlala-Routledge and Kasrils I say “Sidikiwe! Vukani!” “We are fed up! Wake up!”. #VoteEFF
— Azania Afrika © (@SAYoungLion) April 15, 2014
This anc peoples thnk south africa youth we are blind.noo you are wrong we got some two bright eyes and we see everything about ANC#VoteNo
— Mr Fantastic4life (@kedikhedira) April 16, 2014
Others suggested that:
This hashtag #NoVote is misleading. It should be ‘NoANCvote’.
— Sentletse (@Sentletse) April 16, 2014
— Frans Joubert (@fransjoubert) April 17, 2014
While others opposed the campaign, questioning its logic and motives:
— Fighter Ndumi (@NdumisoNgalo) April 13, 2014
The problem I have with the #NOVote campaign is that nobody will count these votes, so how can u make a mark if u're not measured?
— Emy Casaletti-Bwalya (@Emy_Casaletti) April 15, 2014
I don't get this #NOVote campaign! If you're unhappy with a party, vote for another. Make your point by weakening the party u once supported
— Shahan Ramkissoon (@ShahanR) April 14, 2014
So, the ‘Sidikwe Vukani – Vote No’ campaign was launched yesterday. I won't be wasting my vote on any minority party, no way #SAPolitics
— Retha Sabasaba (@manowam) April 15, 2014
The so called ”Sidikiwe Vukani” anti-ANC campaign led by cde Khumalo remains the most counter-revolutionary offensive I've seen post 1994.
— Sipho Phendu (@Siphophendu76) April 13, 2014
My view on the sidikiwe vukani campaign is – instead of spoiling your vote – ask which party is the best guarantor of the constitution NOW!
— Lucille Meyer (@lucille_meyer) April 13, 2014
— Velvet Rose (@VeIvetRose) April 17, 2014
So while I feel encouraged that Cde Kasrils is finally outraged, I think he took too long and his #NoVote campaign is irresponsible.
— UngovernableCadre (@kaysexwale) April 14, 2014
Before organising the campaign, Ronnie Kasrils was a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC for 20 years and a member of the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party (SACP) for 21 years. He was the founding member of ANC's military wing Umkontho we Sizwe.
The ANC spokesperson @ANC_KKhoza took a jab at their former member:
Ronnie Kasrils is at pains to reinvent himself. He has reached his political sell-by-date!
— ANC Communications (@ANC_KKhoza) April 20, 2014