Dear All & After Compliments;
Yesterday Saturday October 15th 2011 were elections for The Consultative Assembly in Oman or better known as Majlis Ash’shura with as many as 1133 candidates competing for the 84 seats representing 61 Wilayats (Provinces) in Oman. 77 women contested in the elections – and being the 7th elections so far in the Sultanate. Registerd voters are about 518,000 in 105 Polling Stations throughout the Nation.
It reminded me of the time when still in Tanzania in the early 1970s when our Higher Secondary School students were sent to assist at the Polling Stations. We were required to report like what we have in Oman as The Walis – or The Area Commissioners AC(from ex Colonial Times of District Commissioners – or more famous as The DCs!).
The shock of my life as a teenager is being called in front of the AC – an indigeneous National – and he telling me – “I have appointed you Mr. Nasser (that is what they used to call me as a term of respect!) as The Presiding Official at this centre of Ilala – one of the big districts in the city of Dar es Salaam – the capital! Please keep in mind that I was of Arab Origin (Omani born parents and grandparents!) and this was AFTER the assasination of their Zanzibar Island President Abeid Amani Karume.
I was at first thinking to decline when he called the Electoral Officials to introduce me to my new role. My Headmaster – also an African Indigeneous – was smiling broadly and congratulating me on the trust, faith and confidence being given to me – and what being secular is allabout!
Frankly I was really timid and worried – first being a student and second on my ethnicity and origins.
He then called the Presiding Police Official Commander – and he introduced me to the Other Police and Electoral Officials.
My authority was to decide on complex issues and ambiguities – and to supervise all the elections procedures and administrative cum management. That includes okaying or not okaying candidates to be allowed to vote who came with no sufficient documents to prove citizenship – and for those coming from other regions of the country to be allowed to vote here. I had suddenly power to control, monitor abnd dominate my fellow school mates – and the other officials. Some of them were against me being in the limelight – and had even said by the side in Swahili – Anaye Kunyima Mbaazi Anakupunguziyaa Mashuuzi!
Literally and more polite meaning – The one who denies you (kidney) beans just reduces the gas for you in return (advantage!)…
As I entered and left I was being saluted – and I felt so embarrassed because I did not know then how to salute back! My job also included sealing and signing the electoral boxes – and transporting them under my supervision to the AC Office – and where The Central Committee Electoral Officials went.
They all thanked me for the good works done – and I had never felt so elated and proud for this trust and confidence to me – and yesterday it all came back in thoughts and feelings.
Majid Al Suleimany