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‘It will take miracle to register 600 000’

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MBABANE – Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) Chairman Chief Gija Dlamini said at this point it would take a miracle to register the targeted 600 000 people for elections.

In the beginning of the national elections registration process last month, the chairman said the EBC targeted 600 000 Swazis but he later changed and said there was no specific target number.
However, with only three days to go and with just over 300 000 registered citizens, the chairman said it would indeed be a miracle to register another 300 000.

“Let me clarify that we are not targeting 600 000 people. This is simply the number of the population that are eligible to vote this year. But it would be historic if we could reach that number.

“There is no country in the world that can say the entire population eligible to vote actually registers to vote,” explained Dlamini on national radio.
He mentioned that some countries were happy that they were at least able to get 30 per cent of their eligible population to vote but for Swaziland, the situation was much different because well over 50 per cent was anticipated to be registered by Sunday, the deadline.

The chairman pointed out that one of the challenges in reaching the 600 000 mark was that some eligible citizens lived in far-flung areas across the globe and were not easy reach.
“For instance, some Swazis work in various South African mines and for our embassy to reach them wherever they are, is a logistical challenge.
“But what is very important is that Swazis are free to register without inhibitions. Unlike in some countries, there is no penalty imposed on anyone who will choose not to vote. Swaziland is a democratic country after all,” he stated. The chief thanked companies and organisations for giving up a bit of their production time to enable their employees to register for the elections.

He said the EBC wanted to give all a fair chance, including people living with a physical disability.
Meanwhile, Gomza Dlamini, who is from a youth committee comprised of members from different constituency centres, said many young people had registered and were keen to          vote.

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