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MBABANE – If you will be nominated as a candidate in the national elections, be ready to declare the amount of funds you expect to receive and use in your campaign.

As per the provisions of the Elections Expenses Act, No.9 of 2013, a candidate shall be required to disclose, at least three days after primary elections, the amount of funds which they have and expect to receive to use as election expenses.


Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) Chairman Chief Gija said even though the legislation was not fully enforced during the last elections  in 2013 as it was on a pilot phase,  it was a requirement for candidates to declare in order to avoid unfair competition. According to the chairman, the process of declaring was nothing but an international standard, which was also used by banks all over the world. “A person can be given money by their friends and relatives to campaign, and in order to ensure that everything is done in a fair manner, it is important that we request candidates to declare,” he said. According to the Act, the disclosure of funds by a candidate shall, in the absence of any other factors, be prima facie evidence that they complied with the requirement for the disclosure of funds. “The disclosure of funds made pursuant to the provisions of this Act shall be confidential and shall not be divulged except when such information is the subject of a complaint lodged by the registrar or investigation initiated or if it is a subject in a court of law,” reads part of the Act. Also stipulated in the Act is that the minister may, by regulations, prescribe the maximum that a candidate can use on election expenses.


“Where in exceptional circumstances, a candidate expends funds in excess of the amount prescribed, that candidate shall be required to submit a report to the registrar within 30 days after the election providing reasons for the use of excess funds,” the Act stipulates. The Act highlights that a candidate who used funds in excess of the amount and failed to report, committed an offence and shall be  liable to pay a fine not exceeding E30 000 or imprisonment for a period of more than  six months. Furthermore, the Act provides that a candidate who intended to spend money shall open an election expenses account, into which all money, including donations received shall be deposited and that he or she shall ensure that all election expenses were paid from the account. The Act also has a provision for voluntary donations where it stipulates that for the purposes of financing an election campaign, a candidate may appeal for and receive voluntary donations from any creditable and traceable individual or organisation in the Kingdom of Eswatini.

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