The nominations process to select candidates for the forthcoming parliamentary election in Swaziland descended into chaos in parts of the kingdom.
Some people boycotted the process in protest that venues selected for the nominations were unsuitable. Elsewhere equipment failures delayed the start of nomination.
About 400 residents of Ebutfongweni in the Manzini region under Kukhanyeni Inkhundla said they would not participate in the nominations process because it was being conducted at Nkiliji under Chief Mkhumbi Dlamini.
They said they did not pay allegiance to Chief Mkhumbi as their area was at Mbekelweni, under Chief Nkhosini.
Local media reported that the residents, all of whom are registered voters, insisted that they would not participate in the process under Nkiliji after Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) officials did not show up at Ebutfongweni. They expected officers from the commission to conduct the nominations in the area as they had done so in the past.
The Times Sunday,an independent newspaper, reported, ‘These are the same residents who recently took Chief Mkhumbi to court during the elections registration process.
‘They were against registering under the Nkiliji Chiefdom and High Court Judge Mumcy Dlamini ruled that they should be allowed to register in a place of their choice as this was their constitutional right.’
Meanwhile, a change of a nomination centre at the last moment resulted in more than 50 residents of Siweni boycotting the nominations process.
Siweni is a tiny village near Mbadlane which falls under the Malindza chiefdom.
The voters were angry after being told by election officers that nominations had been moved to Othandweni Primary School and not Siweni Care Point, as earlier announced.
In Mzimnene, residents were unable to make nominations because they had not been told by the EBC where they should go. The same thing happened in June when people were unable to register to vote in the forthcoming election.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, reported the problem was that when government drew up the 55 constituencies in Swaziland, the Mzimnene area was divided into two and for a long time, people did not know specifically which chief they were expected to pay allegiance to.
Residents now say they will report the EBC to the king.
Elsewhere, equipment failures were blamed for the late opening of nomination centres across the Lubombo region.
Missing church keys marred the nomination process at Moneni as officials from the EBC were forced to remain in their vehicles with the voting kit, as the Free Evangelical Assemblies Church remained closed. Church leaders said they were notified at very short notice that the church was to be used as a nomination centre.
The problems at the nominations over the past weekend (3-4 August 2013) followed chaos during the registration process that took place in June. Then, equipment failures and untrained staff were blamed for delays in getting people registered. The registration process had to be extended by a week.
The nominations took place at Imiphakatsi (chiefdoms) where candidates were chosen to stand in ‘primary’ elections to take place on 24 August. At the primary one candidate will be elected to represent the chiefdom in the ‘secondary’ election on 20 September where one person from the Inkhundla (constituency) will be elected to the House of Assembly.
The election in Swaziland is controversial because the parliament that is elected has no power, as this rests with King Mswati, who rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
Political parties are barred from taking part in the election. The election is only to select 55 members of the 65-seat House of Assembly. The other 10 members are appointed by the king. No members of the Senate House are elected by the people. Of its 30 members, 20 are chosen by the king and 10 are elected by members of the House of Assembly.
VOTE FOR WIDOW – GET EVICTED
WOMAN IN PANTS BANNED FROM ELECTION