Police will vet all candidates in the forthcoming national election in Swaziland / Eswatini.
The kingdom is ruled by King Mswati III as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. Political parties are banned from taking part in the election and people may only stand as individuals.
The Swazi Observer reported on Friday (15 June 2018) that Chief Gija Dlamini, Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) chair, confirmed, ‘that all persons who will be nominated would be vetted before the next stage of the elections’.
In an interview he said the vetting would be at police headquarters in Mbabane where the fingerprints of all candidates would be checked.
‘All nominated candidates will be required to go to police headquarters to be vetted and a record will then be forwarded to us,’ he told the newspaper.
The paper added, ‘When asked to state the purpose of the vetting process, Chief Gija was not clear saying that was an issue for the courts.’
Nominations are due to take place on 28 and 29 July 2018 ahead of a final election on 21 September 2018.
According to the EBC, nominations take place at the chiefdoms. On the day of nomination, the name of the nominee is raised by a show of hand and the nominee is given an opportunity to indicate whether he or she accepts the nomination. If he or she accepts it, he or she must be supported by at least ten members of that chiefdom. The minimum number of nominees is three and the maximum is twenty. The nomination process takes place in the open, persons are nominated by a show of hand and the nomination is done by the community. Those nominated then contest elections at primary level.
Elections in Swaziland are widely recognised outside of the kingdom as undemocratic. Parliament has no powers as these are vested in the King. After the election, the King will chose the Prime Minister, government ministers and the top civil servants and judges. At past elections people only got to select 55 of 65 members of the House of Assembly. The King chose the other 10. At the forthcoming election there will be an additional four seats for people to vote for. It has not been announced how many members the King will choose but the Swaziland Constitution allows him to pick up to ten.
As in previous years, none of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate will be elected by the people; the King will choose 20 and the other 10 will be chosen by members of the House of Assembly.
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