My Vote, My Pride
Voter card distribution in Mali began officially on 20 June 2018. This large-scale logistical operation covers the country’s 10 regions, the Bamako district and Mali’s diplomatic and consular missions. The goal is to reach the 8,462,000 voters who are to participate in the 29 July presidential election.
National authorities reported that as of 24 July, 72.15% of voter cards had been distributed.
Habib Dakouo, 32, is a self-employed psychomotor therapist and also provides services at public facilities. He is very active in communal- and national-level youth movements.
He claimed his biometric voter card – which he displays with pride – at the Commune 5 civil registry local office in Bamako district.
“I picked up my card on 21 June,” he says. “Since then, I’ve carried it with me everywhere. We expect concrete proposals from the 24 candidates (23 men and one woman). We must also promote a culture of accountability. I pay my taxes and I vote. In return, I have the right to hold elected officials to account. Tomorrow they will have to answer for the promises they make today.”
Through PACE, the electoral process support project implemented by UNDP with support from Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, USAID and the African Union, awareness-raising campaigns were organized across the country to encourage voters, particularly young people, to pick up their cards and participate in voting peacefully.
With a budget of USD 5 million (approximately FCFA 2.5 million), the project seeks to support electoral activities in the following four areas:
· Support to plan and coordinate electoral operations, including the distribution of new biometric voter cards to more than 8 million voters and to report the results of the vote;
· Communication and awareness-raising regarding election activities and voting;
· Conflict prevention and mediation related to the electoral process; and,
· Mobilization and active participation by women and youth in the electoral process.
Recalling the last election, Habib takes stock. “I voted in 2013 - it was a national upsurge. The stakes remain very high. I am particularly concerned about education and youth employment. Voting means deciding for yourself – you can’t let someone else make choices for you anymore.”