24 April 2008
'ELECTIONS WILL BE FREE AND FAIR'
Stories by Musa Ndlangamandla
HIS Majesty King Mswati III yesterday expressed confidence of a free and fair election process, later this year. He told South African President Thabo Mbeki that under the new constitution, the elections were open to all Swazi adults and that the country’s political system has empowered every Swazi to freely choose what they see as the best candidate.
The King challenged all potential MPs to align themselves with the national fight to overcome poverty.
“On the home front, may I inform Your Excellency that we shall be having our national parliamentary elections later this year.
“These elections are open to every Swazi adult. Our political system has empowered every Swazi to freely participate in nominating and being nominated as candidates for parliamentary elections,” His Majesty said during a State banquet he hosted for the visiting Statesman.
The King added that this empowerment instrument is enshrined in Swaziland’s constitution in which the people are encouraged to nominate and elect on merit, a candidate amongst themselves whom they know best to have the potential of representing their interests in parliament.
In response, Mbeki, who promised to return to Swaziland again and again, said the region, the world and South Africa continues to be interested in the political developments in Swaziland - due to the mutual effects such has on all the countries.
“Ever since Swaziland gained her independence in 1968, there have been many political developments as embodied in the constitution and the subsequent developments are followed by South Africa and the world with keen interest because of, among other things, the SADC Charter. We wish you success in the general elections,” Mbeki said.
He assured His Majesty that South Africa would do more to ensure that the economic benefits between the two countries are enhanced.
He noted that there were more than 70 companies of all sizes that hailed from South Africa, investing in Swaziland. Mbeki saw the need to accelerate growth through NEPAD, saying the two governments must work together to strengthen the people to people agenda.
Mbeki cited the Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative (LUSIP) as another area that can be used to leverage economic success of the two countries.