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400 voters’ unplanned boycott

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image Headman of Ebutfongweni Chiefdom Ancon Hlatjwako.

EKUKHANYENI - About 400 residents of Ebutfongweni in the Manzini region under Kukhanyeni Inkhundla yesterday ‘boycotted’ the nominations.

Ebutfongweni is a small chiefdom located between Nkiliji and Ekukhanyeni under the Manzini region, next to Bhekinkhosi.
The over 400 angry residents yesterday declared that they will not participate in the nominations process which was being conducted at Nkiliji under Chief Mkhumbi Dlamini.
They do not pay allegiance to Chief Mkhumbi as their area falls under Mbekelweni, under Chief Nkhosini.

The unhappy residents, all of whom are registered voters, insisted that they would not participate in the process under Nkiliji after Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) officials did not show up at Ebutfongweni.

This was despite that Ebutfongweni was in the voters’ roll released by the same EBC.
They expected officers from the commission to conduct the nominations in the area as it used to happen in the past

These are the same residents who recently took Chief Mkhumbi to court during the elections registration process.
They were against registering under the Nkiliji Chiefdom and High Court Judge Mumcy Dlamini ruled that they should be allowed to register in a place of their choice as this was their constitutional right.

Yesterday, the residents gathered at Ebutfongweni Royal kraal waiting for EBC officials who however, did not show up.
The angry residents said they had responded to the fact that their area was included in the list of centres where nominations would be conducted.

All the residents who were found at the royal kraal were carrying their voters’ cards and were ready to nominate candidates of their choice.
They insisted that they would not participate in the elections if their chiefdom is not recognised as a registration centre.

Ancon Hlatjwako, Community Headman, said they had always voted at Ebutfongweni and were now surprised that the EBC decided to change that.
He said the residents of Ebutfongweni want to continue to have their own constituency councillor (Bucopho), to present candidates who will compete for the positions of Member of Parliament and constituency headman for the Kukhanyeni constituency.
Hlatjwako said in the 2008 elections, the chiefdom presented candidates for all the positions that were voted for.

The residents also pointed fingers at one of the senior princes of the area whom they alleged was the one who created the confusion and division between the two areas.
Ebutfongweni people have been told that their new voting centre is now Nkiliji chiefdom, under Chief Mkhumbi Dlamini.  However, they say this instruction irregularly comes from Chief Mkhumbi, who is their rival and not a neutral party.

In an interview yesterday, Chief Mkhumbi said what the residents of Ebutfongweni were doing was defiance as they knew where to vote. He said the issue of boundaries between the two areas was long concluded by the authorities in Lobamba.

“It is true that in the past they used to vote in Ebutfongweni but that has been rectified after it was discovered that it was a mistake. What they are doing is defiance and this is not the first time they do that. We are expecting them to come and vote at Nkiliji as they fall under this area,” he said.

The chief said they had had several run- ins with the community of Ebutfongweni.


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