Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

MBABANE – Voter registration kicked off on the wrong foot yesterday. Locals who were eager to register to vote at their various Tinkhundla were turned back early yesterday after there were no registration kits available almost countrywide.

Voter registration was expected to start yesterday morning after an announcement made by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) on Friday. Some people travelled to the various registration centres in their constituencies only to find that they could not register.
Several registration centres visited by reporters from this publication were found with only the registration clerks, imisumpe, and police officers. These included Siphocosini High School, Nduma Royal Kraal, Mbabane Central High School, Msunduza Hall, Zombodze Royal Kraal, Logoba, and Mbekelweni to mention a few.

In all registration centres, the story was the same; there were no registration kits. The clerks said without the kits, they could not register people and that was why they had to turn them back. They said they were supposed to work from the morning but were not sure when their working equipment would be delivered. The registration kit encompasses a laptop, scanner, fixed camera, biometric scanner and a printer.

One of the people who turned back without registering yesterday was the Siphocosini Indvuna, Sikakadza Matsebula, who said they were informed that registration would start in the morning but that was not the case. Matsebula said the clerks and imisumpe arrived at the centres in the morning ready to work but there was no working equipment. He was optimistic that the registration kits would eventually be delivered and the exercise would proceed.

The EBC Communications Officer, Mbonisi Bhembe, acknowledged that they had technological challenges which affected the starting of registration. Bhembe, although not going into details, said they had software challenges which they were guaranteed by their software developers that they were sorted. He said he was not sure what the actual challenge was as it was more technological.

Bhembe stated that the challenges had to do with the network which he said was slow at times due to congestion. He said that they did not connect all the registration kits to the network at the same time because of that challenge but had deliberately disconnected others.

“They (software developers) have assured us that they are on top of things and the system will be up and running,” Bhembe said.
He said some stations in the Shiselweni Region had the equipment as it was delivered early yesterday. He said they decided to deliver the equipment in distant centres first because of transportation challenges.

He assured that centres closer to the central point would receive the computers before close of registration yesterday. Registration closes at 5pm daily. “The affected registration centres will not close for the day without receiving and using the registration kits today (yesterday),” Bhembe said.

Bhembe also made an assurance that all registration centres would at least have one person registered.
He said they wanted to make sure that every centre had some people registered yesterday and have statistics of the number of people who registered on the day.


Comments (0 posted):

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image: