What does a campaign consist of? In Mali, it involves dancing before the event starts, a welcome by a humongous crowd of supporters, a visit to the village chief, speeches and singing. The campaign stop in Markala, a village bigger than Ouelessebougou, did not disappoint.
The event was attended by 500+ people. The youth drove this event to show their support for Niankoro Yeah Samaké. The day started with a crowd of supporters welcoming Yeah to the village. Hundreds on scooters and cars met the delegation five kilometers outside the town and then accompanied them into town honking in support.
Yeah visited the Chief of the village (“dugutigi” in Bamanakan). It is customary for candidates that visit the village to meet with the head of the village first as a symbol of respect for the culture and the support of the village. The chief is greeted with Kola nuts. These are bitter nuts but have for centuries been used as a traditional greeting. Once the dugutigi had been greeted, the next meeting was with the Imam, the Muslim leader who offered benedictions for the success of the party and the campaign.
The level of enthusiasm was great as people gathered to hear more about the party and the goals they hoped to achieve for Mali. Different people spoke at this kickoff event in Markala. Fomba, the Secretary General of the Party started off by introducing the party. Broulaye, Yeah’s deputy mayor in Ouelessebougou, testified as to Yeah’s leadership skills and how sound leadership has improved the quality of services in Ouelessebougou. The concluding speaker was Yeah himself. Yeah spoke to the 500+ gathered about the current political landscape of Mali and pointed out how critical it was for the people of Mali to vote for someone who represents the values of integrity, service and sound leadership. He shared with the people of Markala his modest beginnings and expressed how it is possible for someone who has known hunger to aspire for the highest office in the country. He expressed how Mali is not a poor country rather a country that has been impoverished by the actions of its leaders.
The event was a great success. Such an event is not easy to put together and not cheap either. To arrange advertising, music, meetings, gas, vehicles for travel and a sound system it costs $2000 for just the one meeting. That is a huge chunk of money when you think about the 1000s of such gatherings that need to happen before the election in April 2012.
The visit was received very well. From the oldest to the youngest residents of Markala, a spark was lit. The spark of a need for betterment. A better Mali. A better education system. Better jobs. A brighter future. And it all can start with one man: Niankoro Yeah Samake. The visit in Markala is just the start. The next one happens in Ouelessebougou, Yeah’s home base. Money is needed to make these events continue. Are you in? Show your support at www.samake2012.com and help determine the fate of a country.