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ARE ELECTIONS GOOD ENOUGH?

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FIRST I would like to congratulate Chief Gija and his EBC team for doing something on the Tinkhundla in the country. Whatever propelled them to do this assignment I wish it will stay there so that they continue doing their work.

I think it is a bit too late to do it at this stage. I say so because elections in the country are very close now. We may tell stories and say campaigning for elections in the country has not started.

The truth is people started campaigning or at least indicating their interest in elections long time ago. Some ministers also had to be reminded that what they were doing was wrong. So it is late because those in the new Tinkhundla will not have an equal opportunity.


Having mentioned elections, I wonder when will the EBC accredit civil society organisations to conduct civic education on the elections. We are only a few months away from them and no one has been accredited to conduct civic education on elections because only the EBC is allowed to accredit organisations to do that.

The EBC has given itself unfair advantage over others because even though it is not accrediting others and also want to know the contents of what the others will be saying to the people, it is conducting the civic education and no one approved what it is telling the people. So basically the EBC will decide what information is given to the people and by whom. This in my knowledge is against the spirit of the Constitution. People must be allowed to receive information from whomever as long as they want to receive that information.


The chief and his team deserve to be further praised for allowing our brothers and sisters in Correctional facilities to participate in the elections. After all some are only left with a few hours in the facilities to be released when elections take place. They will then have to spend five of their years outside represented by a person they did not elect. Again I wonder what pushed the EBC to consider such to be there. My worry though is whether the logistics of doing such were considered.

Yes, I think the procedure of how they will cast their vote was developed. But the problem is whether civic education was conducted in the facilities? If not, who will do it because time is running out? Again, those outside were long visited by the EBC and those inside are already lagging behind.

My other worry is how will campaigning be done in the Correctional facilities? This is necessary that it be done because we also have to vote for people from other imiphakatsi in our inkhundla and I may not know the person from that umphakatsi yet that person might have brilliant ideas.

So if a person is incarcerated, that person will miss the opportunity to hear the people campaigning. It will also put those campaigning at a disadvantage because a person may lose because the 10 people who made the difference in the results would be those incarcerated who the candidates would have had no opportunity to sell their ideas to and convince them. Put your thinking cap on chief and help us here.
Now that the EBC has thought about rearranging the Tinkhundla, has it considered that the smaller imiphakatsi are always disadvantaged when it comes to elections? I’m speaking from experience having stood for elections in one of the small imiphakatsi. We may say in theory that the most qualifying person wins the elections but I will state that this is not always the case most of the time.

What happens is that in the final inkhundla voting, we vote based on our imiphakatsi. If the votes can be properly analysed this would come out. This therefore will always put the smaller imiphakatsi at a disadvantage. The only inkhundla where I have heard does not vote based on umphakatsi lineage is Siphofaneni. Have you, chief, sat down and studied how come at Madlangampisi Inkhundla always a person from Nkambeni wins the elections? Is it because the people of the other imiphakatsi are not capable? I don’t think so.


My plea as well is that the people elected should not ignore some imiphakatsi and support others. This as well is a reality and it happens. You often hear of a Member of Parliament being told (especially when there are complaints about him from a certain umphakatsi) that he does not care about the people, after all they did not vote for him or her.

You then ask yourself if this is the person who is supposed to represent them who is being told that he does not care about them? How will these people benefit from the Tinkhundla system of government when the person who is supposed to represent their interest does not care about them? This makes me if this system of governance works for the benefit of all the people.  

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