The creditability of the elections in Swaziland has hit rock bottom. August saw both the nominations for and the primary elections themselves take place. There was chaos from the start, with complaints that people who legitimately should be allowed to take part in the elections excluded. One woman was barred from having her name put forward because she wore jeans to the nomination centre. The High Court had to overturn that decision.
Many people who wanted to stand were excluded because they were unable to catch the presiding officer’s eye during the outdated nomination procedure.
The chaos continued after nomination and before the primary election. The constitution states no electioneering is allowed but the law was regularly broken. After the election itself complaints rolled into the offices of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, the group tasked with organising the election.
Allegations of ballot box tampering, buying of votes, bribery and incompetence abound, with the law courts expected to be busy in the coming weeks before the final ‘secondary elections’ take place on 20 September.
Swazi Media Commentary captured much of the chaos and presents a digest of the happenings in August 2013. This is available free-of-charge at www.scribd.com Apart from the elections, human rights issues were in the foreground, especially as they impacted on gay men, school children and the disabled.
While all this was happening a gaggle of some of King Mswati’s 13 wives returned from a multi-million dollar holiday to Australia and the Pacific.
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