Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Colonbo Municipal Council Elections

It is timely again to note that the majority of the electors in Colombo, do not own the property they currently inhabit. Therefore they cannot show proof of ownership such as deeds etc. even though they would have lived there all their lives. Most of the people live in tenements, slums and shacks. Most citizens who live in the houses they own in Colombo do not realize this fact.

There are 650,000 inhabitants in the CMC limits and of these about 400,000 are electors and it is likely that only 300,000 will cast there votes. Additionally many of the affluent households of Colombo 7 etc will not vote, partly because they have not checked if they are on the electoral register, and some have failed to follow up the annual household registering by the Grama Niladari which means they are no longer on the electoral roll, depriving themselves of the vote.

These statistics are in common with most of the captal cities of this world, and so should not come as a shock.

It must also be remembered that in asking for their votes, most of the electorate of the South Asian countries want personal things that benefit themselves from the politician, and not common things that benefit many. It is this selfish shortage that they seek to fulfill and therefore are more likely to voter for a candidate who is seen to be able to fulfill this personal need.

This sort of analysis therefore makes the whole act of canvassing for votes very tricky as one has to direct one's campaign pledges to hit each person for his individual needs. Even one were to build a playground, unless it had a direct benefit to the person, so that for example his son could use it to play at after school, they would not follow it up with a vote.

The Government has already taken steps to remove people from the slums at Wanathamulla and other places, so it is difficult for them to convince the local populace that they will not evict anyone from a home. The problem with regards to promises of new homes, is how it is paid for and the time and trouble to build one which is not appreciated by the new owner, especially if it is in a block of flats, which for the purposes of housing the poor, is not an option due to the inability of these people to maintain the common parts and prevent it from falling into the water. How can the government convince its backers that they will not dislodge anyone from there homes without a the promise of building a good replacement close by as people are reluctant to move form a locality they are familiar with.

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