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MBABANE – The special voting process during national elections needs to be stopped!

This was stated by Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday during the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs’ first quarter performance report debate. The MPs decried the Elections and Boundaries Commission’s (EBC) lack of transparency, and issues with the tinkhundla demarcation and special voting process. According to the MPs, the special voting process was susceptible to corruption as votes remained for a time period uncounted. They demanded that votes should be counted on the same day. Motshane MP Robert Magongo stated that the special voting was introduced solely to ensure that they were not voted into Parliament.


“Special voting sacalelwa kukhipha tsine ePhalamende, as there was no process of that nature in the past. The system of voting and not counting votes on the same day is a breeding ground for corrupt practices,” said the Motshane MP. He emphasised that the procedure was meant to ensure that they did not get elected into Parliament. Ndzingeni MP Lutfo Dlamini, during the debate, stated that the EBC was bound to receive criticism as its operations in the previous elections were suspect. He said a lot transpired in the previous elections, which resulted in him hiring lawyers to guard against any fraudulent activities from the officials during the voting process.

“We could tell that most of the officials were out to ensure that we do not win the elections. There are sub-tinkhundla that have come up and no one knows what these are. Also, this practice of EBC officials celebrating once results come out and raising their fists in jubilation should come to an end if EBC aims to work well going forward,” said the legislator.
Maseyisini MP Mduduzi ‘Small Joe’ Dlamini requested that the counting of the special votes was done on the same day as keeping votes would attract ematsabelangoti (opportunists).
MPs further raised a concern over the demarcation of tinkhundla in the different constituencies, stating that most people were left unattended and without designated tinkhundla due to inaccurate demarcations or lack thereof from the commission.

“There is difficulty we encounter as MPs, because if you would travel to each centre right now, you will find that there is no clear mapping of where the inkhundla starts and ends in terms of boundaries. We are expecting the commission to assist us with the boundaries issue as soon as possible,” said Hhukwini MP Nkhanyeti Ngwenya.


He further said the issue of boundaries had resulted in some people not being assisted as they did not belong to any of the constituencies due to the areas not being included in the set boundaries. The Maseyisini MP said it was also concerning how silent the EBC was this time of the year, despite elections being due next year. “It is very quiet yet in previous years by this time preparations were already at an advanced stage and work was being done to demonstrate that elections were coming,” he said. The MP further highlighted an issue with bucopho, stating that there was unfairness in bucopho being elected at the primary elections level because if, for instance, they did not see eye-to-eye with whoever was elected as bucopho, that person had major influence on the secondary elections, where MPs were then elected.


Mkhiweni MP Michael Ndlelayekuphila Masuku, during his submission on the matter, said ematsabelangoti (opportunists) were prevalent when it was registration time as some people voted where they did not have interest in, simply because they were from there but at times had never resided in that area. “You find that this then leads to people being ferried with buses from different areas to come vote in a certain area,” he said. In response, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Pholile Shakantu said the head of Secretariat or chairperson of the EBC, Khombisile Dlamini, was present and would take down the questions and recommendations by MPs and address them accordingly. She further highlighted that she had a 100 questions to respond to, much to the laughter of those present.

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