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Voting tricks exposed

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MBABANE – While reparing for the next elections, the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) will be guarding against the use of digital cameras to take pictures of the ballot papers.

This, it has been alleged, is done by voters to convince candidates that they have indeed voted for them as promised.

In return, they are paid by the aspiring MPs.

Chief Gija, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), says the commission, with the help of police, will be in the lookout of the voters who will bring electronic gadgets such as cameras and cellphones to voting booths. Elections are expected to be between August/September.

The EBC chairman says they have received a tip off that some aspiring MPs (nominees) bring lump sums of money to the voting polls to buy votes.

He said according to the commission sources the voters are required to take a picture of the ballot paper where they had voted.

The picture should show the face of the candidate they have voted for. In return, they get paid.

"Sekufike etindlebeni tetfu kutsi lokuganga loku kuyenteka," he said in siSwati, meaning, ‘it has come to our attention that this unscrupulous act is happening.’

"We have been made aware that voters use digital cameras or cellphones to take pictures of the candidates that they have voted for. They then show the picture to the candidate as proof that they have indeed voted for her/him. For doing such, they get paid," he said.

He said such an act was criminal. Chief Gija said a voter who will be found or spotted committing such an offence will be charged and further disqualified.

Adding, the chairman explained that the candidate would also be disqualified if it is found that he/she had been buying votes.

"We will be engaging the police to monitor such crime. Again, the voting booths will be displayed in such a way that the presiding officers are able to monitor voters’ movements. The movements include putting hands in your pocket, fiddling with your cellphone," he said.

"The only thing the presiding officer will not be able to see is the candidate who the voter has voted for. This should remain a secret," he said. He said in previous elections they were not in the lookout for such incidents but they have since been tipped to be careful in order to allow free and fair elections.

 

He said to try and discourage the unscrupulous acts; female voters will be required to keep their cellphones in their handbags. He said men will be required to keep their cellphones in their pockets.

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