While CCM was quick to accuse opposition party Chadema of buying voter cards, inside information shows that the ruling party also participated in the dirty politics especially in the areas where it faced stiff opposition.While I'd be more than happy to stay home from voting in exchange for a mattress or even a ham sandwich (conditional on quality of course), careful observers would know that this would be pure rent: payment isn't required to induce the desired behaviour. Such ever is the case for the inframarginal non-voter.
“I gave them my card in exchange for the new mattress on the condition that after the voting they would return my ID card,” one voter told The Guardian on Sunday. “I didn’t establish whether they were agents for the ruling party or opposition.”
Eyewitnesses from Geita told The Guardian on Sunday that the night before the by-election; hundreds of mattresses were being distributed to voters in exchange for voter cards.
One mattress dealer from Geita town admitted that he had sold more mattresses during the campaign period than he had sold in all of 2008, but he said he couldn’t be sure he had been selling his stock to party strategists.
“It might be true because suddenly the demand for mattresses surged dramatically during the months of April and May,” said the salesman, who spoke to The Guardian on Sunday on condition of anonymity. “I can assure you that, what I sold during that period was more than my annual sells for last year.”
Buying voter cards is not a new trend in Tanzanian elections, but the tactic has been spreading rapidly as of late, and has apparently gone unnoticed by election officials.
Why mattresses though? Isn't cash both less obvious and more fungible?
HT: Jeet Sheth, faithful graduate of my Public Choice class.