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MANZINI – A crowd of elated textile workers danced outside their factory while waving E50 notes that had been allegedly given to them by an aspiring MP.

The incident took place at Fashion International in Matsapha Industrial Site, during the workers’ lunch hour yesterday. Insiders, who also received the cash, alleged that the money was splashed by an aspiring MP from one of the constituencies in the Manzini Region.

They alleged that the candidate in question allegedly distributed the money through his campaign managers (bogalajane), who were also employed in the factory. They alleged that some days before the cash distribution, the campaign managers were asking them to persuade their relatives and friends who registered to vote under the aspiring MP’s chiefdom, to cast their votes for him.

In a bid to make sure the workers convince them, the sources alleged that the campaign managers allegedly told them to take the voters cards of those who would agree and promise to bring it back with not less than E50.

They alleged that at first, the campaign managers had promised to distribute the cash on Wednesday and had asked them to bring the voters cards of those who agreed to vote for the candidates. However, the sources alleged that instead of giving them the money on Wednesday, the campaign managers counted the number of cards they got and told them they wanted to know how much they should bring.

They said yesterday, during their lunch hour, the campaign managers told them to queue in groups outside the factory in order to receive the cash, according to the number of voters cards they had.
The insiders said in total, there were about 250 workers who queued and most of them allegedly produced a varying  number of voters cards, with some bringing as much as five. They alleged that most workers went back to work with not less than E250 in their pockets, while those who brought many voters cards went away with up to E800 at most.
“On estimate, about E60 000 was distributed and after receiving the cash, some workers were seen dancing while waving the cash, which mostly included the new E100 and E200 notes,” the insiders alleged.
Some of the workers said they would hand over the money to the owners of the voters cards while others revealed that they had agreed to spend the money together in some form of celebration.

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