Vote Out the Corrupt Crooks, Roars Buthelezi
Unemployment, crime, corruption, HIV and Aids and underdevelopment are going to be the issues voters are concerned about, Inkatha Freedom Party president Mangosuthu Buthelezi told his party's youth delegates at Ulundi at the weekend.
The people who will decide are those who are struggling with these issues on a daily basis.
Buthelezi intensified his call for the African National Congress government to be bundled out of office by the electorate in next year's elections.
His no-holds-barred address at the IFP's youth conference came after he said last week that the electorate should vote out crooks and corrupt government officials.
This was an apparent reference to the political storm surrounding the arms deal and embattled Deputy President Jacob Zuma.
Buthelezi's remarks also came against the backdrop of his endorsement of the Democratic Alliance's call for the opposition to form a coalition for change to fight the ANC at the 2004 polls.
It was essential, he said, that the ANC be brought below the 49 percent threshold in next year's elections so it would no longer be allowed to rule by itself.
"Next year's election cannot be about allegiance. People must think, decide and choose.
"They should not consider the election an act of allegiance or homage to those who are in power but rather as an assessment of their performance. That will indeed be a time in which those who are in power are going to be held accountable.
"The electorate must choose whether it wishes to have five more years following the elections without any major change for the better," he said.
"It will also be about those who even though they do not struggle with these problems directly, do nonetheless, care about them to the point of wanting to see them solved once and for all. We need to shift the emphasis away from the ANC, so that the space for change can finally be opened."
He said for real democracy and accountability to work, those who were in power must feel the bite of the electorate, so that they could become sensitive.
In an apparent snipe at the ANC, he said the electorate was tired of those who had constantly promised a lot and delivered very little.
With acknowledgements to Bheko Madlala and the Daily News.