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Africa

Reporter's Notebook: Farmers on the Bamako road

Video by Philomène REMY , Mayssa AWAD , Eve IRVINE

Text by Eve IRVINE

Latest update : 2013-07-27

There are just three days to go to until Mali’s presidential poll. FRANCE 24 has taken to the road from Bamako to Gao and has stopped off in a village to see how important this election is for those living in rural Mali.

In this village 200 kilometres north of Bamako everyone is hard at work… It's time to till the soils.

There are no campaign posters on the earthen walls here. Locals feel that the presidential campaign has passed them by. The head of the village Omar Sylla is disappointed.

“Not many candidates take time to come to our village and speak to us so those that come we listen to,” he says. “I heard that in Bamako Ibk is the favourite but we won't vote for someone who doesn't give us money!"

Ibk, Ibrahim Bourbacar Kayta, is one of the frontrunners in the poll. But it’s the party of his opponent, Soumyla Cisse, that came here to listen to locals needs – namely, better irrigation. Not everyone was convinced by their promise of a better future.

“They promised us chairs, that they would repair the water pump, a whole host of things,” villager Fatim Haidara tells us. “It’s he who offers the most who will get the most votes in the village!”

Everyone in this village that is eligible to vote has received their ID card and says they will cast their ballots. But they know that the residents of many nearby villages simply won't go to the polls.

“For many people it takes the whole day to go vote,” Demba Gadiaga , a corn and cotton farmer, tells us. “But as soon as the guy is elected, they forget about us, so why bother?”

This village is lucky enough to have its own polling station in the local school. But many rural dwellers have to walk hours to cast their ballot. It’s not always easy to find the time and this year it will be particularly difficult for farmers, as the vote takes place during rainy season, their busiest time.

 

Date created : 2013-07-25

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