The elections — through a Kingdom lens: Cheryllyn Dudley

Why I voted at this election, why I voted as I did
cheryllyn parly
A post elections perspective by ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley.

It was a privilege and an honour to once again vote in a democratic election in South Africa. And ‘once again’ I voted African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) because, as a Christian, I am convinced that it is in my, and my families best interests to do all I can to see the ACDP succeed not only as a political party but as a viable option for future government. I am convinced that the ACDP has the best chance of producing the kind of leaders I would like to see leading South Africa and has the best chance of being a genuinely pro-people party defending our freedoms and taking seriously our responsibilities.

After the national election in 2009 I had a very serious conversation with my God and myself on this topic, which went something like this “Lord what … are you finished with this work … have we done what we were meant to do … should this thing called ACDP just be allowed to die a quiet and as dignified a death as possible – or is there something worth fighting for?” I came to the conclusion that for me – there was very definitely something worth fighting for.

Now, I have no doubt that what makes this work worth fighting for in my eyes, may be different to what makes it worth it, for you – we are a diverse people in South Africa and even within the Church of Jesus Christ we are diverse. I personally don’t think that in any party there are two people who think alike on every single issue and in the ACDP it will be the same – we will not agree on every single issue but we will find ways to agree to disagree if we are convinced that we agree on enough of what is important to us. I have purposed to be true to myself and to you in arguing as constructively as I know how on less than popular issues within the party – on many occasions decisions have gone in a direction opposite to what I would like to have seen but at no time have I been given less opportunity to put the less popular view alongside the more popular view. This is important to me because I want to be in a political party that understands humans are fallible and can be wrong, a party that thinks things through and considers the possible consequences both intended and unintended, is not afraid of a dissenting view and is prepared to stretch their thinking to be sure everything that can be considered has been considered.

I am grateful for our multi-party democracy which gives our diverse society very real options — we can get behind any party which we feel best represents our values and principles and be assured that we will have a voice in the democratic processes in South Africa. The degree of influence that voice has will of course depend on things like the competence and integrity of the representatives, the number of votes received etc. For me, our proportional vote system has given almost every part of society a voice – it has ensured a degree of nation building that would not have been possible if people were constantly having to resort to violent and destructive demonstrations to be heard. Yes I know violent and destructive demonstrations take place despite broad representation – but how much more so would this be if sections of people had no representation and no hope of representation.

Christian values and principles
To get back to the ACDP for a moment and why for me, it is worth fighting for. It is of course unashamedly based on Christian values and principles and has a 22+ year track record in terms of applying their biblically influenced worldview in Local Municipalities, Provincial Legislatures and National Parliament. I am grateful that I have had the option of putting my energy and my vote into a political party that has understood the value of being guided by Christian values and principles. And I have witnessed the difference the ACDP has made in bringing this — often ‘politically incorrect view’– to the debates and deliberations in Parliament.

I believe South Africa would not be what it is today if the ACDP did not exist and I am convinced that we would be doing a disservice to the country if we were to allow the ACDP to disappear from the political landscape of our country.

In 1993 when the ACDP came into being there was a very real sense that the ‘Christian Voice’ was under threat. The 2009 national election however indicated that Christians were no longer seeing this as a threat. My take on this is that because the ACDP had succeeded in protecting religious freedom and — by its presence — reminding other parties that Christians within their ranks had other options – other parties have had to show a semblance of consideration on issues important to Christian and religious communities. This will not be the case if there were to be no ACDP – without the ACDP, parties committed to a secular worldview would not have to waste time explaining themselves on these issues and without opposition, could decide what churches and religious leaders can and cannot teach, preach and do.

There have been many examples of attempts by legislators to curtail freedoms in general and religious freedom in particular and the ACDP’s response in defending these freedoms is on record.

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) is a political party standing for Christian democratic principles, aspiring to bring stability, prosperity and hope to our nation. It is a party that values unity and diversity and is committed to protecting freedom of religion and family integrity. We are determined to provide reliable, trustworthy leadership who are passionate about addressing the needs of all the people in South Africa; and is committed to a prosperous, ‘shared future’ for all living in SA”!

Flow of voters
Back to today and the logistics on the ground, we saw the majority of the country’s 22 612 voting stations reporting having opened on time at 07:00 a relatively smooth flow of voters who turned out in their numbers from early in the day, with many waiting to vote from before the 07:00 opening.

The firing of a group of IEC officials, missing voters’ rolls, ballot box seals and scanners, and delayed station openings were some of the hiccups experienced as voting got underway which resulted in long queues at several voting stations. And in troubled areas security forces were ensuring that voting could take place as freely and fairly as possible.

The IEC should ultimately be measured according to how it responded to irregularities but politics will probably demand that those who are happy with the results will be lenient and gracious and those unhappy with their results will be looking for someone and something to blame.

With a few hours to go before boxes are sealed and counting starts I am grateful for the opportunity the ACDP has had to participate in this election despite our many challenges, not the least of which, being minimal funding and critically few resources.

Those who picked up the challenge to stand, doing all they could with what little they had are an inspiration and an example — empowered by their belief that all things are possible through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

What the results will be — some are guessing others are hoping but — God alone KNOWS! Where we go from here does not change for those of us who are, as Landa Cope has said “called into politics and civil governance for the glory of God and the good of the people. We are there not to perfect the world or nation but to offer God’s perspective … a better way … and allow society a choice”.

We are en route to the 2019 National and Provincial Election which is on the horizon!

One Comment

  1. Thank you, Cheryllyn, for all your hard work for the ACDP and behalf of Christians in South Africa, as well as the feedback you have given on these LGE elections. May the Lord bless you and your fellow workers for your courage and obedience.
    I pray that Christians in SA will come to realise just what a vital role the ACDP performs in government. There is a lot of work to be done towards 2019.