Take the money and vote, song tells Senegalese

Fri Mar 9, 2012 6:37pm EST
 
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By Diadie Ba

DAKAR (Reuters) - Hard-up Senegalese who are offered cash for their vote in a presidential election this month have an easy option, according to a popular music video: they should simply pocket the money and vote as they wish anyway.

Poll officials say attempts to buy votes, often made before election day and well away from scrutiny, are common in African elections but among the hardest forms of vote-rigging to spot.

Incumbent Abdoulaye Wade, who failed to get an absolute majority in last month's first-round vote, now faces ex-premier Macky Sall in a tough March 25 run-off in the West African country which prides itself on its stable democracy.

"If a politician offers you 5,000 CFA francs ($10), take them, if he offers you rice, take it," sings veteran musician Ousmane "Ouza" Diallo in "Le Vote" (here).

"But if he asks to buy your elector's card, say no," he warns, referring to the document which voters must present to polling officials before they can cast their ballot.

Reuters reporters heard anecdotes from voters in February's first round that men wielding suitcases of cash offered money in return for their elector's card - a tactic used in the bastions of rival candidates to limit their scores.

The EU election observer mission also cited suspicions of such a practice.

"THINK OF THE FUTURE"   Continued...

 
Senegalese singer Youssou N'dour shakes hands with opposition leader Macky Sall (R) during a news conference in central Dakar March 1, 2012. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal