The ACO campaign poster on Steve Biko Road, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)
The ACO campaign poster on Steve Biko Road, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Municipal elections: Unusual, weird political party names on lampposts

By Rapula Moatshe Time of article published Oct 25, 2021

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Pretoria - Does a name of a political party suggest something about what the entity stands for in reality, or as the great Shakespeare may want us to believe, the naming of things is irrelevant?

As the country is edging closer to the 2021 municipal elections, with only 7days to go, there are some unusual and weird political party names on the lampposts.

And they, too, want your vote.

Take a name like DOP, an abbreviation for Defenders of the People.

At face value some people, especially lovers of alcohol, may have thought the name on the lamppost – DOP – suggested a drink or a dash.

It is only when one takes some time to look at the full name that it starts to make sense in a political context.

Formed last year, DOP originated in Lepelle Nkumpi municipality in Limpopo, and believes it has what it takes to win the elections.

Listening to its leader Rufus Mphahlele during his door-to-door campaign in Khureng village, it became clear that the party was not about consuming alcohol, but means serious business in politics.

In fact, DOP is contesting the elections in five provinces, Gauteng, Limpopo, the North West, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape.

Mphahlele said: “We want to make sure that they get proper roads and services because we’ve realised the municipality does not care about the people."

Many voters may have thought they had seen it all during this electioneering period until they were introduced to a ward-based political party called Bathong.

The name Bathong literally means people in Sotho. However, the newly formed political party adopted its colloquial meaning, usually used in a conversation to express a sense of surprise.

Asked about service delivery promises of his party during its debut television interview, Bathong leader, known only as Magauta, whimsically said people were in for pleasant surprises.

He said that the party’s name was self-explanatory regarding what it stood for.

“Everything that we do as Bathong (while we are in power) you are going to exclaim ‘Bathong’ because you are surprised that this party e etsa (is not doing) nonsonso (nonsense) and that it is different from other parties that promise people houses and other things but we don’t get to see them,” he said.

Despite the fact that the ACO or African Covenant political party participated in the 2019 provincial and national elections, some people have claimed that they were seeing it for the first time.

“ACO? What is it?” someone asked, suggesting that the name sounded strange for a political party.

Led by Dr Convey Baloyi, the party will be contesting in the local government elections in a bid to get people out of poverty. In one of the interviews, Baloyi said: “People want to be out of poverty. There is structured poverty in South Africa.”

Judging by the characters of the above political parties, one can conclude that the name does not really define who the person really is. Or, as Shakespeare would put it, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

Pretoria News

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