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‘Vote for Jennifer, face eviction’

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image Chief Magudvulela delivers his remarks before the start of the nominations at Ludzibini High School.

TIMPHISINI — Jennifer du Pont was harassed yesterday during nominations at Ludzibini chiefdom, an area led by Chief Magudvulela, a former senator.

Ludzibini falls under the Timphisini constituency. Dumisani Dlamini the Chiefdom Headman warned voters against voting for du Pont, calling her unprintable words in the process.
Dumisani is said to have threatened voters and warned that anyone who nominated du Pont would be evicted from the area. He warned that those who would nominate her should be prepared to relocate to areas as distant as five chiefdoms away. Her sin was that she attended the nominations only a few months after her husband died.

The headman was of the view that she should still be mourning her husband. However, Mandla Dlamini, a member of the community, defied the headman when he raised his hand to nominate du Pont. This was after at least two people had been nominated ahead of her.
Mandla is said to have been brave enough to face the headman and tell him off and dared the latter to evict him from the area. In the end, du Pont was nominated for the post of Member of Parliament. In an interview later on du Pont confirmed the incident.

She said she was disappointed that there were people who wanted to defy the King by refusing her a chance to be nominated. Du Pont said she was disappointed that there were people who worked against the ideals and spirit of the elections, as pronounced by the King. “The elections process will go to the next stage now. I hope and pray that such an incident does not happen in future,” she said. “I am happy now that we shall be using ballot boxes for the next stage and I am sure the people would ignore such people as the head- man and continue to keep their faith in  me.” She also said what the headman did was disrespect for women rights.

Mzwandile Fakudze Deputy Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) said she should address the issue with appropriate structures to resolve it. He said one of these structures was to approach the leadership of the area to have the matter sorted out amicably. “If she has issues with the headman she should address it with the chief because it is an internal matter.”

Apart from this, the nomination centre where the former MP will stand for elections was changed from Eludzibini Chiefdom to a nearby high school. Voters suspected that the venue was changed because of the former MP’s status as a widow. Her husband died in May.  The electorate alleged that after extensive consultations, it was decided that culturally, it was wrong for a recently widowed woman to go to the royal kraal as she was still in mourning.  However, Du Pont did not wear the standard black mourning gowns and was dressed in a blue wrap-around dress known as sidvwashi. “We were surprised to learn that we now had to go to the school because since the start of the elections process, we have been doing it at the royal kraal,” said a member of the community who spoke on condition of anonymity.

  The area’s chief, Chief Magudvulela rubbished such allegations when interviewed yesterday.  The chief who is also a former senator said there was nothing wrong with changing the venue from the royal kraal to the school as the school was also a government place where the national flag was also hung.  He, however, did not go into detail as to what necessitated the change in particular because the school had no electricity connection and as a result the machine had to be charged at a nearby homestead. 

“I do not know why people would assume such,” he said. “There is absolutely no truth to this matter, especially because there is also a woman who is in mourning at the same royal kraal,” he said.  The nominations took place under a tree in the school yard.  Addressing the electorate before the start of the elections, Chief Magudvulela implored those present that they should treat the school as if they were in the royal kraal.  “I do not want to see beer bottles because this is a respectable place where the flag is also raised,” he said. 

However, during the interview he said there was no flag yet at the school as it was fairly new.
 “There have been too many stories flying around about me to the extent that it was reported that whoever would nominate me as a widow would be fined a cow,” said du Pont. The polling officers declined to comment about the change of venue but stated that they had been told that the school would now be used instead of the royal kraal.  Chief Magudvulela told the electorate to nominate people who would bring development to the area. 

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