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NEW MP ‘VIOLENTLY’ OPPOSED

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GEGE – Only a minority of the  eligible voters under the con stituency of Gege voted for Mbongiseni Malinga.


His win has since caused havoc in the rural area.
Out of 4 651 people who voted, only 1 536 voted for Malinga.
This means 3 115 of those who made it to the polling stations did not want him as their MP.
However, the Kingdom uses the first-past-the-post system which regards the candidate who gets the highest number of votes as the winner.


Malinga beat three contestants, being the outgoing MP Musa Kunene, Ben Simelane and another one who was identified as David who got 1 197, 984 and 934 votes respectively.
There are 11 chiefdoms under this constituency.


Gege is situated in the Shiselweni region but closer to Mahlangatsha, which is under the Mankayane sub-region.
Residents, who claim to be the majority that voted against him, say they do not want him to represent them in Parliament.


The community here says Malinga is ineligible because the elections were not free and fair, due to a number of irregularities they observed.


Among the irregularities, they said the voter verification equipment failed in at least two polling stations which happened to have the majority of voters.
Therefore, this provided a window for people from outside the constituency to vote.  They said they also did not want him because he operated as a moneylender and showed no sympathy to residents who failed to repay him.


Some residents alleged that during his campaign, Malinga lent money to some residents, leading to Election Day but once he was announced the winner, he demanded his money back.
Yesterday was a turning point for the residents as they engaged in a protest march against their MP.


There was chaos as over 400 residents staged a protest march around the constituency.
They filled the dirty road here carrying placards and sticks denouncing Malinga and the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).


They ran helter-skelter as police brutally stopped a peaceful protest march.
At the end there were seven people who were arrested and charged with the crime of Disturbing Public Order. This happened after armed to the teeth police who freely brandished guns, attacked the marching residents and beat them up.


The residents had started the march at about 11 am where they grouped a distance away from the Gege constituency. They marched to the constituency offices carrying a petition, which they aimed at delivering to the Constituency Headman. They also hoped to deliver it at the police station.


All this was in vain because about an hour later, the police stopped them.
They told them to disperse and counted up to 10.


Thereafter, they fired teargas canisters and attacked the residents with batons.


Residents file formal complaints to EBC


GEGE - Mlili Kunene, one of  the leaders of the march, said residents had delivered a letter, lodging a formal complaint with the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).


They also demand a recount of votes and fresh elections under the Gege constituency.
Kunene said this initiative was taken after a majority of voters were taken aback by Mbongiseni Malinga’s win.


“We did not vote for him and we believe given another chance, he will not win,” he said.
Malinga said all chiefdoms, including his chiefdoms were against him. “His chiefdom, Siyendle, has fewer voters and whenever he campaigned in the other chiefdoms we made sure there was a counter campaign against him and we believe that this worked very well,” he said.


He said to prove that Malinga was not wanted by a majority of the people, some from his own chiefdom participated in yesterday’s march against him.
Yesterday, residents were supposed to deliver a petition to the constituency demanding that Malinga should not set foot within the premises of the Gege structures. Called for comment in the afternoon yesterday, Sabelo Dlamini spokesperson of the EBC, did not answer his cellphone. He was called a number of times until late at night.


Cop points gun at journalist

GEGE – Walter Dlamini, Times SUNDAY senior photojournalist narrowly escaped
    being shot when a gun-totting policeman pointed a gun at him.


Dlamini’s only sin was taking pictures of some police officers who were mercilessly beating a protestor, who was only identified by his name Brother next to a police vehicle. The officer pointed a short gun at Dlaminis face and demanded why he took pictures of the officers who were at work.


The intervention of his colleague Mduduzi Magagula saved the day as the officer was informed to stop interfering with the work of journalists.


He left in a huff as the reporters told him that the pictures they had taken would not be deleted. 
Innocent Maphalala, Times SUNDAY Editor, strongly condemned the action of the police, wondering if this was how the police wanted the world to perceive the kingdom’s Monarchial Democracy.


He said in all democratic countries like Swaziland, security forces and journalists worked together, even under very trying conditions like in war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.


Maphalala hoped serious action would be taken against the officers who harassed the reporters who had committed no crime whatsoever.

...POLICE USE EXCESSIVE FORCE

GEGE - Drama unfolded as they chased them to the mountains, found about a kilometre away and after failing to apprehend them there; they regrouped and went to their homes to pick those they suspected to have participated in the march.


When dispersing the residents, police officers said the march was illegal because the residents did not have a permission to participate in the event.
In an interview during the protest action, Constance Motsa (67) alleged that residents in all the chiefdoms were not happy with new MP because he was not their preferred candidate.


“We did not want him to win this election and we believe there was something wrong with either the counting of votes after the elections or the whole process,” she said.
She said the people who were in the march were from all the chiefdoms.


“All chiefdoms are shocked that he won the elections and we will make sure that we protest until he is removed,” she said.
Dora Motsa, another elderly resident said MP Malinga should be removed and the whole elections should be started afresh. “If we fail to remove him, we are willing to stop him from coming to our chiefdoms for the next five years, until we are able to elect someone who will represent us and lead development of our area,” she said.


Wendy Hleta, Police Public Relations Officer (PRO) confirmed that seven people were arrested in the aftermath of the march.


She said elections have passed and anyone who had misgivings about them should approach the EBC and stop disturbing peace of the country.


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