by David Biggs
After hearing snippets of the recent embarrassing American presidential election “debate” (hah) I was beginning to think the whole world had gone politically mad.
(And before we start feeling smug, the American politicians came across as complete asses, but ours are apparently completely corrupt crooks. Take your pick. Tough choice.)
My faith in human values was restored to a small extent when I read about the mayoral election in the little town of Deveselu in southern Romania.
It’s just a little village with a population of about 3 000, but their mayor, Ion Aliman, has served the town well for two mayoral terms and was coming up for election for a third term.
Sadly, he contracted Covid-19 and died 10 days before the election date. The villagers were devastated and held an emergency meeting.
In their grief they decided to go ahead and hold the election anyway.
The late Mayor Aliman won by a landslide victory. Not even death could damage his popularity. His mayoral inauguration was held by candlelight at his graveside. This might all seem like a bizarre comedy, but I’m not so sure.
A dead mayor might be ideal for the job, particularly if he served several successful terms before passing away.
Think what it needs to run a town. Potholes must be fixed, sewers cleared, grass verges trimmed, electricity networks maintained, buildings repaired, traffic controlled and a hundred other practical jobs, none of which is actually done by the mayor.
The mayor’s duty is to see that honest, competent and properly qualified people are appointed to do all those essential jobs.
The mayor must ensure that systems are put in place so all the necessary work is done – and paid for – smoothly. Once the competent people and efficient systems are in place the mayor just has to keep an eye on things.
He (or she) doesn’t need to know how to fix a leak or mend a power line.
So I wish the people of Deveselu well with their new mayor, dead or not. Frankly, I suspect he may do a better job than many living ones. Maybe death should be pre-requirement in all political elections.
The judge looked sternly at the accused. “The charge sheet says you broke into a dress shop. How do you plead?”
“Guilty, your honour.”
“But you broke into that shop four times! What’s your excuse?”
“My wife wanted a new dress, your honour, but she kept insisting that I take it back and exchange it for a different one.”
* “Tavern of the Seas” is a daily column written in the Cape Argus by David Biggs. Biggs can be contacted at [email protected]
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.