5 April 2008
How the election process moves in Swaziland
Sibongile Mohammed from the Elections Secretariat has stated the steps from the first day of the election to the last, just when those elected are sworn into Parliaments.
Even though this election will be held under a new constitutional dispensation, it would seem nothing much has changed from the way it was done before.
She stressed though that to avoid problems when results are out, they had tightened a number of loose screws after learning from the last election.
One of the areas, which will be given extra vigilance, is that of voter registration papers.
She noted that in the last election, out of the disputes that cropped up, forged voter’s registrations were the highest, and as a result they would give that part extra attention.
This is how the election will work this year.
* Delimitation of constituencies: This will comprise the verification of boundaries. In the past a committee was set up before the elections, and it would work on boundaries, come out with a final report, which was then taken to the King for assent. He then passed it to the Elections Committee, which would work around those constituency boundaries.
* Voter’s registration (Voters Roll): This is a vital part of the process and in most cases if a country gets this one right it will probably have less problems as the process moves forward. Voters must ensure that they are of the right age and are registered at the right place, while ready to make the right choice. The people are then requested to go check the voter’s roll once it is released to ensure that their names are there and at the right constituencies. This also gives all players a chance to correct any mistakes if there are indeed any.
* Nominations: This is done at the Imiphakatsi (chiefdoms) regardless of whether there is a chief or not. A minimum of four people to a maximum of 10, are nominated. 15 registered voters should second each nominee. After being seconded he must express his willingness to represent the people at a higher level.
* These nominees will then go for Primary elections, where out of the four in some cases or the 10 in others, one must come out victorious. These are still conducted at the Imiphakatsi. The winners will then represent their Imiphakatsi in the election for constituency representatives MPs.
* Campaigning: It is in this stage that campaigning is then allowed. The Primaries winners are then taken to all the Imiphakatsi under that constituency and campaign publicly fielding questions asked as well as tell the people what he has in store for them. Only one person must come out the winner, so he can go for Secondary elections.
* Secondary elections: These are the final elections where winners will then go to Parliament to represent their constituencies. It is from these winners that cabinet Ministers are also chosen. Mohammed then stated that according to the new Constitution, a person of foreign descent but who has stayed in the country for five or more years will be eligible to vote, only that he cannot be voted for.