ANC accuses AIC of cashing in on governing party voters
The fight for votes ahead of the May general elections is in full swing. This is after the African National Congress (ANC) accused the African Independent Congress (AIC) of piggybacking on its name.
The ANC said that by having the same colours on their logos, street posters and the ballot paper, the AIC is confusing voters who may unintentionally vote for the AIC.
The AIC, a relatively new party with little to no track record, sent shockwaves around the country when it garnered enough votes during the 2014 elections to secure three seats in parliament. This, according to the ANC, is a clear indication that AIC votes were not meant for it.
“[The] AIC got more than 90,000 votes in 2014 and they did not even campaign at that time, they did not even have a T-shirt or rally or a poster. How do you get 90,000 votes without putting [in] an effort?” asked ANC spokesperson Dakota Legoete.
“So it was a mistake that was done by our people, by not paying attention to detail and to end up voting AIC.”
The AIC refuted the ANC’s claims saying, in not so many words, that voters are not stupid and know exactly who they want to vote for.
“That is a political cold war so to speak. It is a psychological warfare because remember when people are going through the voting stations to cast their votes, they know pretty well as to what political party they are going to vote for,” said AIC president Mandla Galo.
“You cannot therefore tell me that the lawyers, the teachers and all the learned people who have voted AIC in 2014 and again in 2016, those people were confused.”
However, this is not the first time the issue of voters being confused at the polls has been addressed. In 1994, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) was at odds with the ANC over its candidate on the ballot.
The ANC had argued its 1994 candidate, Clarence Makwetu, looked like the late Nelson Mandela and therefore voters would be confused by his face.
In order to avert confusion, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has, this year, conducted a draw that will see parties with similarities being separated on the ballot.
This was done through a raffle which was won by the AIC, meaning that it will retain top 10 position on the ballot of May 8 while the ANC moves further down.
“The ASC has won the top spot and has thus triggered the alphabetical order. In other words parties that come after the ASC on the ballot paper are also those parties that follow ASC in the alphabetic order," IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said on Tuesday. "The only exceptions would be the APC and ANC because they have been dislodged from the alphabetical order in the earlier draw. These parties have now been placed equidistantly from one another.”
The ANC is considering copyrighting its name, logo and colours to avert such confusion in the future.
“We will have to make our logo copyright, or a trademark, so that nobody else gets closer to our colours or our logo. And it’s going to be difficult in a democracy to go that route because it will be like you are denying other people the right to participate in a process which will be very unfair. But for them to have similar colours to us and abbreviation and in the ballot paper be next to us, it’s been something that benefited them at our expense,” said Legoete.