They sent the picture to the candidate making the bribe by WhatsApp, the Times of Swaziland reported.
It happened at the Mavuso Trade and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday (21 August 2018) during the ‘special election’ ahead on the kingdom’s main primary election on Saturday.
The Times reported, ‘Voters, as is the law, were allowed to be in the polling booth on their own and that was when they sneaked in an opportunity to take pictures of who they had voted for.’
The newspaper reported that candidates who had offered bribes wanted the proof.
It added, ‘One woman, when interviewed, confirmed that she had done so to give proof to the candidate that she had voted for her.
‘“I want my preferred candidate to have a peace of mind knowing that I voted for her,” she said.
‘Others stated that the candidates had demanded pictorial evidence of whom they had voted for.’
The special election was held ahead of the main vote for people who would be working on Saturday at the primary elections.
During the day there were reports of illegal campaigning. In Swaziland, recently renamed Eswatini by the kingdom’s absolute monarch King Mswati III, candidates are not allowed to campaign for votes until after the first round of elections, known as primaries, have been completed. Campaigning is only allowed ahead of the final secondary election to be held on 21 September 2018.
The Swazi Observer reported (23 August 2018) that candidates ‘openly canvassed for votes during the special voting exercise’.
It added, ‘Some of the candidates were found wandering at the gate to the Mavuso Trade Centre pleading with people to vote for them.’
There were also complaints that the day had been badly organised by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC). The Observer reported a ‘near stampede’ as ‘hundreds of voters pushed and shoved in order to cast their votes first’. Police had to be called to keep order.
It added, ‘Hundreds of special voters flocked the area as early as 7am hoping to cast their votes first and return to their respective homes or places of employment.
‘However, voters were informed that they will have to queue according to their different chiefdoms and not according to who got to the place first.
‘This did not go down well with the voters who complained of being overtaken by those who arrived late. This resulted in voters pushing and shoving despite being told that they will be called according to their chiefdoms.
‘Tempers flared as some voters threatened one another with violence as they pushed to vote.
‘Voters especially those from the Hhohho region had a tough day during the voting process as some were almost turned back without having voted.
‘This happened after the voters were told that it was way too late and their line was very long.’
The Observer said, ‘Outside the pavilion, there was so much pushing and shoving such that some of the [EBC] officers eventually called for police to come and manage the situation which was getting out of hand.’
Elections in Swaziland are widely regarded as not democratic by official observers because political parties are banned from taking part. The King choses the Prime Minister and government and the parliament has no powers as these rest with the King.
In Swaziland, people are only allowed to vote for 59 members of the House of Assembly, the King appoints a further 10. No members of the 30-strong Swaziland Senate are elected by the people.
Voter Bribery Rife in Swaziland in Run-up to First Round of National Election
Organised Certainty, Why elections in Swaziland are not democratic
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