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SADC ELECTIONS TEAM WAS NOT INVITED BY GOVT - ALPHEOUS

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MBABANE – The Government of Eswatini has distanced itself from the programme and list of organisations and individuals that the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SAEC) is meeting in the country.

SADC is the Southern Africa Development Community. In a statement issued on Saturday, Government Spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo said the programme, in terms of the organisations and individuals that the SADC Electoral Advisory Council was meeting in the country, remained unknown to government. Nxumalo said any insinuations that the government was involved in the drawing up of the SAEC programme was incorrect and tantamount to misleading the nation.

“This mission was not invited by the Government of Eswatini,” said Nxumalo. Nxumalo issued the statement following concerns expressed by various quarters on the national structures in respect to the SADC Electoral Advisory Council’s mission in Eswatini. The concerns were that the SAEC’s programme indicated intentions to meet political parties which were banned in the country. The concerns were raised by organisations like Mangololo Eswatini, who complained about the criteria used by the SAEC to select the organisations to meet, as it reflected political parties as key stakeholders in the elections. Mangololo raised concerns on why political parties were to be met by SAEC whereas they were not allowed to participate in the general elections, because in Eswatini people participate in the elections in their individual capacity.  On Thursday, SAEC met with the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) and the African United Democratic Party (AUDP).

Delegation

On Friday, the delegation met the different media houses and leaders of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFFSWA) among others. This week, the SAEC delegation, led by its Deputy Chairperson and former Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Namibia, Advocate Notemba Tjipueja from the Republic of Namibia is set to meet other stakeholders, which include the Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF), civil society groups, leaders of different women organisations and trade unions. According to the draft programme, the SAEC delegation would also meet the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC) and the Communist Party (CPS). The SAEC delegation would then be expected to finalise and adopt its report on Thursday and then leave the country on Friday.

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