Monday, October 13, 2008

Vote buying, why it works

Vote buying and selling plague elections not just in the Maldives, but also in a host of third world countries. Because of the wide income gap between the rich and poor in such countries, well-heeled politicians can afford to pay attractive prices to the impoverished population for their votes.

Rumors abound that during the October 10 election prices ranging from 500 rufiyaa to 2000 rufiyaa changed hands. For some groups, rumors say, payment was made in kind: heroin. An interesting twist to the tale is the allegation that vote sellers were made to swear upon the Holy Quran to ensure they voted for the buyer. This innovation could be the reaction to an Election Commission regulation that camera phones are not allowed in the polling booth. The regulation came in the wake of rumors during the August 2007 referendum alleging that money was disbursed on producing photos of 'correctly' marked ballot papers.

Apparently politicians need not have bothered to take all this trouble. Scientific research has shown that an overwhelming majority of vote sellers are too simple to think of double-crossing after taking money. The honesty of ordinary folk ties them down to their words. Ironically therefore, the more honest the people are, the more crooked the rulers.

Vote buying does not come alone. Like every carrot on offer it also comes with its own stick: threats of serious consequences such as job losses and property confiscation. Research shows that such threats also work because the people are too simple to realize that they often have legal protection from such threats.

No foolproof solution has been found for vote selling, at least in the short term. In the long term however poverty alleviation and voter education are believed to work.


Anonymous said...

Regarding the vote buying, it is happening. there are known raw cases known. The main sponsor is Yamin. In the last election in the first round Yamin gave away package of RF50,000 to S.Hulhudhoo youths. I call oppostion to files cases in the court against Yamin, there will be lot of hulhudhoo residents for giving witness on this.

Anonymous said...

I made the following observation and thought it better that I tell you about it.

Few days ago, on TVM, speaking at a news conference representing the National registration, you took the liberty of volunteering to defend Min Kamaaluddin. The question was not asked of you. The question was answered by someone else. Then, for reasons that would only be clear to you, you shamelessly defended Kamaaluddin, when you didn't have to.

What gives?

Your colleague at work.

Anonymous said...

Several members in my family and among my friends work for the various Villa groups (in resorts, in the college and in travel). They all claim that they were pressured to vote for gasim and were asked to take a mobile phone picture of the ballot paper once they had ticked gasim's name - and if they submitted this picture, they would get 2000rf. Even though cameras were supposedly banned, in sevral voting booths, nobody checked if cameras were being taken in. I for one did not even know of the ban, and took not only my phone, but my whole handbag (which is huge btw) into the voting booth with me and nobody said a thing.

Anonymous said...

Its annoying when an image precedes the text of actual posts.

If its not too much to ask, please keep blogging the way you used to.

Abdullah Waheed's Blog said...

To anonymous 10.27 pm. Since you did not mention either the question or the answer, readers will not be in a position to make a judgment. The question asked was: Apart from the night of October 7, did Kamaluddin work at night at DNR on any other occasion? The reply from DNR was: no, because such a need has not arisen. What I added was: Even though he had not worked at night in DNR before, he had worked at Police HQ quite often.

To anonymous 10.33 pm: For technical reasons and the design limitations of the blog it has been difficult to put images within the text. If you have any solution please write to the email address at the top of the blog.

Anonymous said...

Why can't people just accept that the nation might want the existing government if he wins in an election?
You are doing no good talking about vote rigging and all that Abdullah Waheed.
Is it wrong for the people to voice their opinion and elect a leader?
This is the first time I have come across your blog, and it's beginning to look like something Sappe' would come up with. This is not a complement.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire, my friend.

Anonymous said...

A nation in which a dictator has ruled for 30 years, what should we accept? A nation in which all the youth are rebellious, A nation in which drugs is for sale, who should we blame for all this?

Anonymous said...

Since vote buying is so endemic in Maldives (like the rest of South Asia) why not accept it positively.

Why not de-criminalise it or allow it. Infact, the presidency can be an open bidding process. Parliament can short list candidates based on the proposal (the manifesto).

If the highest bidder wins, would the result be so different as now.

Lets think outside the box.

Abdullah Waheed's Blog said...

2 comments have been rejected because they did not conform to guidelines given in the blog header.

unstable thinking process said...

[A nation in which a dictator has ruled for 30 years, what should we accept? A nation in which all the youth are rebellious, A nation in which drugs is for sale, who should we blame for all this?]

A nation where people cant hold on to what they say for 24 hours,what do you expect?

See the 'UNITY' of the alliance

Anonymous said...

Your blog is an inspiration to the bloggers and writers.Presenting both sides of the coin, presenting truth, presenting facts,.Very good.

Anonymous said...

glad to see this article of yours.i have commented about this in a previous article of yours. i think this is an issue that we should seriously you have said the low socioeconomic status may be the reason for this in some cases.but in maldives, most of the people who accept this money is not so impoverished to accept RF 1000 or 2000 and sell their souls.and if any politician is buying anyone's vote that person doesn't have any respect towards people and doesn't value the integrity and self respect of the people.
i think if there are any honest politicians out there(???) one thing they can start doing to reduce vote buying is to start fund raising for their campaigns in an open manner as they are doing in US elections at present,so that there is an open picture of how that money is being spent also.

Anonymous said...

Dont say it out loud, first THINK.

Anonymous said...

mr. waheed.

why dont u f****** p*** of instead of writing f***** lies and only target one main person.

i dont see u talkin abt ur atrocite the ****** ***** anni. this goess to show ur a one sided ***** for money as well.

read the damned comments and think abt it. i was a student in mysore as well...and i had been directly pressured to vote for gasim sayin my schol was from gasim.

so why dont u f***** shut the f***. and i know u wud read this comment u f***** lier.

may maumoon win and p*** u all of to the core
[Some words that do not meet decency standards have been obliterated ]