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Pandemonium in Pigg’s Peak

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MBABANE – The cut  throat Pigg’s Peak constituency elections lived up to expectations yesterday, with drama, tension and general chaos being the order of the day.

The elections, dubbed by candidates as a ‘do or die,’ were full of drama which was accompanied by sporadic fights, accusations of vote-rigging and general confusion that prevailed as close to 5 000 people milled the Town Council hall to elect their favourite candidates yesterday.
The tense elections for this constituency pitted Hlobisile Ndlovu, former Member of Parliament (MP), successful businesswoman Dumsile Ndlovu who is related to Hlobisile, Jabulani Mabuza the owner of Pigg’s Peak Buy Cash Hardware and Reggie Lukhele.

These four candidates collectively spent over E1 million on campaigns for the Member of Parliament’s position. Responding to questions from the Times SUNDAY, Mabuza said he spent in excess of E700 000, Dumisile spent E300 000 while Hlobisile shelled out E25 000 and Reggie had only spent E5 000. The elections were so chaotic such that at some point, it was suggested that the elections should be called off and postponed to today.  This happened when the general cut-off time of 5pm as set by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), elapsed.  Five pm passed while a queue of over 2 000 people waited outside the polling station for a chance to get inside.

The postponement idea was shot down by the candidates and their supporters. The EBC officers had made the suggestion after it was obvious that the voting would end late into the night and security for officers, candidates and voters would not be guaranteed. While the postponement idea was toyed around, it was also suggested that candidates, together with the police, should guard the ballot boxes for the night until the next day.

This idea was rebuffed because of fears that the people who would guard the ballot boxes could be in danger of being attacked at night. There were also fears of election rigging through the tempering with ballot boxes. The situation was saved when Returning Officer Lomvula Hlophe called in the Pigg’s Peak station commander for the reinforcement of security. Elections then continued way into the night.
Results were expected to be announced in the wee hours of today.

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