In a desperate bid to stop illegal campaigning in the run up to the primary elections in Swaziland, the Elections and Boundaries (EBC) has banned all feasts and parties in the kingdom.
All campaigning ahead of the primary election is banned by law in Swaziland, but candidates have been ignoring this. Police have been called to various events to deal with allegations that parties and social gathering were disguise delection events.
At a media conference EBC chair Chief Gija Dlamini announced the ban on feasts and parties until the primary election takes place on Saturday (24 August 2013).
He said, however, events such as marriages which had long been planned cannot be taken as parties to lure people into voting for individuals and could go ahead.
The winners at the primaries become their chiefdom’s candidate in the ‘secondary’ elections on 20 September, where they compete against each other at the Inkhundla (constituency) level to be elected to the House of Assembly.
The elections are widely seen inside and outside Swaziland as irrelevant. Political parties are banned from taking part and the parliament that is elected has no power as this rests with King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
The secondary elections are for 55 members of the 65-seat House of Assembly. The other 10 members are appointed by the king. None of the 30-strong Swaziland Senate is elected by the people: the king appoints 20 members and the other 10 are elected the House of Assembly.
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