- Title: BENIN: Messages to Benin's youth aim to curb corruption
- Date: 16th March 2011
- Summary: COTONOU, BENIN (MARCH 05, 2011) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF DIAMAND NOIR MEMBERS
- Embargoed: 31st March 2011 13:00
- Location: Benin, Benin
- Country: Benin
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz
- Reuters ID: LVA1Z9LH4CECO2HR78WVT5V9D4UR
- Story Text: 'J'ai Mon Mot a Dire', or 'I have My Say' in English, is the latest track from Beninese Hip Hop outfit 'Diamand Noir'.
The release, which carries the messages of anti-corruption and socio-political mobilisation comes at a time where the west African country faces an electoral stalemate.
After two election delays due to voter registration problems, the people of Benin finally went to the polls on Sunday (March 13).
The country, which according to the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom by the Heritage Foundation suffers from widespread corruption, is now at a political stalling point with the two main rival camps declaring victory after the vote.
'J'ai Mon Mot a Dire' was released before the elections in an attempt to motivate as many younger generation Beninese to cast their vote, despite the fact that some 400,000 people were omitted from the voters register causing repeated delays in the lead up to the poll.
'''I have my say' is in this vain, to tell the youth they they have their say, that they must express themselves vocally, but also by the ballot box so that things can change, so that politicians can recognize us, consider us and really do things in favor of the youth of Benin which is suffering greatly,'' said Amir, member of Diamand Noir.
A top regional cotton producer with a population of 9 million, Benin is one of the few countries in Africa's "coup belt" in spite of its corruption rates to have successfully held free and fair elections, winning international praise.
Cotonou resident Luc Loukoya praised Diamand Noir's efforts, saying that Benin's desensitised youth are lacking a nationalistic edge and need political motivation.
''The project that they've put into place can sensitise the youth to be patriotic so that Benin can have a guaranteed evolution,'' said Loukoya.
An infomercial was also aired surrounding the elections to curb bribery. As opposed to the more subtle message from Diamand Noir, the big, red bold letters jumping out of screens, spelling slogans like 'Do not let yourself be corrupted. Do not let yourself be insulted' is much more direct. Another Cotonou resident, Theodore Dovonou praised the tactic.
''It will contribute to a change of consciousness angst us Beninese, us voters that aspire to the sustainability of democracy in our country,'' he said.
The infomercial was produced by Ernest Adjovi, a prominent businessman and highly respected civil society leader mostly known for founding the Kora All African Music Awards.
Adjovi, who describes himself as an 'opinion leader' said that Benin demanded political education to resist electoral bribery. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, 34.7 percent of the West African country is literate.
''Unfortunately, the majority of the population isn't educated and isn't versed in politics. And so, my infomercials have been put out in several of the country's languages, including French, the country's official language. As I said earlier, don't take bribes, don't sell your conscience,'' said Adjovi.
Benin's national electoral commission is expected to publish results later this week.
Rival camps have each published results which showed them leading the vote count.
A second round of voting is expected to follow.
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