HomePoliticsBloody finger, killed a cock?

Bloody finger, killed a cock?

Vincent Kahiya

THERE is a new fashion craze in town — the little red finger.


Yesterday people held them up with pride to show

they had voted.


But voters were caught by surprise when they were asked to dip their little fingers in the small bottle of red ink — the colour is actually magenta — instead of the usual colourless indelible ink used in past elections. This could however only be seen through a special light. That is not required with the new ink. It is there for all to see.


Imagine chiefs — who often carry registers to polling stations to ensure their subjects have voted — calling a dare this weekend to weed out the sell-outs who stayed at home on voting day.


Crafty Harare wordsmiths did not take long to craft jokes around the red finger. I liked this one: Ko mawoko akatsvukei? Asi wauraya jongwe? (Why do you have blood on your hands? Have you killed the cock?)


Yesterday evening there were people with blood on their hands who claimed they could wash it off with all sorts of detergents and chemicals including ordinary bath soap, turpentine — and even urine!


A voter called me in the afternoon to say that he had managed to wash off the ink and voted twice. I did not immediately believe him because the dye on my fingers looks set to remain there for days to come and I am worried about ever getting it off.


At the polling station where I voted yesterday, the ink desk was a terrible mess. The liquid was everywhere, on the floor, on the desk and all over clothes of the electoral officer who unfortunately appeared unable to control the small bottles in front of her.


She was not alone in her clumsiness. I managed to get some ink onto my ring finger and trouser pocket — indelible scars for what?


When election results have been announced and we have all sobered up, hopefully we should still be brandishing our little red fingers which to some could be a lingering reminder of failure to change things through the ballot box. The little finger would be an illustration of a bloodied soul which would need to wait another five years to receive total healing.


To the victors it’s a warrior’s tattoo of valour and an emblem of self-fulfillment. They would like this identity to stay on forever. Because the ink will be there longer, especially on some of us who have it on our clothes, it should provide the trigger for us to keep reminding ourselves of the electoral promises by politicians.


Like a jilted newlywed, we will soon be looking at the little red finger as a reminder of the brief bliss which only produced frustration.

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