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EESN SHOCKED BY ‘VOTES-FOR-CASH’ REPORTS

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MBABANE - Eswatini Election Support Network (EESN), under CANGO has raised concern over the alleged buying of votes for parliamentary seats.

CANGO Stands for Coordinating Assemble for Non-Governmental Organisations. The startling allegations were made by one of the aspiring senators, Ngomyayona Gamedze, who has since pulled out of the Senate seat race. Gamedze had been nominated together with businessman Sifiso Mabuza of Hosea, Jimmy Hlophe, a businessman from the Manzini Region under Mahlangatsha Constituency and Bongani Matsebula, Mhlume-based businessman. The EESN said the allegations were shocking that money became a determinant factor for a candidate to be elected into public office. The organisation felt that the alleged act may perpetuate the inequality gap, especially among women and other vulnerable groups, to participate fairly in the electoral process in the country.

Transparency

“This undermines fair participation and transparency of an election. It also undermines electing people of calibre to perform representation and oversight roles in Parliament,” read the statement sent to this publication. As a result, the organisation has called for critical organs of government to conduct intensive investigations into the credibility and fairness of elections and the applicability of electoral laws for reforms where there were needed. The EESN said the Tinkhundla System of Governance was founded on the tenets that it was grassroots-based, home-grown and non-discriminatory. “People elected into public office must show effectiveness in representing national interests as well as be critical of the country’s governance structures,” further reads the statement. 

The organisation said it was necessary to institute reforms to prohibit ill elements from a situation where elected officials found themselves beholden to foreign interests.   The organisation felt that the allegations affirmed the EESN’s observation in its 2018 elections report that the elections were marred with malpractice, especially the use of money to buy favour from the electorate. “It is no longer about being known by one’s community,  having capacity to represent the people and  being loyal to serve the people and the country as a whole. If this malpractice is allowed to continue, the country   may face serious threats as this might lead to control and pursuit of individual and foreign interests,” said the organisation.

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