More accusations of bribery and other illegal activities are surfacing in Swaziland following last Saturday’s primary election.
Police have been informed and complaints made to the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), which runs the election.
At Nceka, Siphofaneni, it is alleged that winning candidates visited homesteads ahead of the poll to distribute salt and sugar to residents who were told who to vote for.
Losing candidates told local media that voters were also transported free of charge from outside the chiefdom to cast their votes. Some people who were not from the area ended up running away and abandoned the voting upon being accosted by the police
They said they raised these concerns with the presiding officer but were ignored. They also reported the irregularities at Siphofaneni Police Station.
At Kwaluseni it was reported that 1,000 people were turned back from the polling stations.
The former Kwaluseni Member of Parliament Sibusiso Mabhanisi Dlamini said 7,400 people had registered to vote but only 2,700 did so. In a letter of complaint to the EBC, he said voters were frustrated because they were turned back after queuing for about six hours after walking 5 km to the polling stations
He also alleged that a relative of one of the winners was using an EBC vehicle to take voters to the polling station.
In the letter, Dlamini said nominations were conducted at Kwaluseni Central Primary School whereas during the elections there were two polling stations being Kwaluseni Primary and Mbhikwakhe Primary School.
‘Some voters were turned back from Kwaluseni to vote at Mbikwakhe and some were turned back from Mbikwakhe to vote at Kwaluseni. More than 1,000 people were turned back because gates were closed at 5pm and the presence of OSSU (Operational Support Services Unit) police officers intimidated them,’ he stated.
He said more people wanted to vote but could not. He said the poll should have run over two days.
Since the primary election on Saturday (24 August 2013) there have been numerous reports of malpractice.
About 1,000 people in the chiefdom of Ngonini reportedlyvoted even though only 300 actually live there.
Other complaints include ballot papers having incorrect names of candidates and voters turning up at polling stations but being denied the chance to vote.
The election was called off at Bahai and Magwaneni and at Pigg’s Peak polling stations were allowed to remain open beyond the official closing time.
SWAZI PRIMARY ELECTION SHAMBLES
CORRUPTION CLAIMS AT SWAZI POLL