17 June 2008
THREATS OF BLOODSHED AT ELECTIONS
By Faith Vilakati
MAHLABANE residents are threatening to boycott the national elections if they are to vote under Chief Ngalonkhulu of Mafutseni umphakatsi instead of Chief Mbhungu Mabuza whom they claim to be their rightful chief.
In different interviews, community members said if they were forced to register under a chief they do not recognise, there would be bloodshed.
This follows an announcement made on Sunday, during a meeting the community held with the elections facilitators, whereby they were told to register and vote under Chief Ngalonkhulu.
This means that registration clerks will have to move from Mafutseni to Mahlabane to register the over 3 000 eligible voters.
The residents pleaded with the Elections and Boundaries Committee to allow them to register and vote under Chief Mgebiseni of Ngculwini Royal Kraal.
Delisile Thwala, the most vocal resident, said they were up in arms and ready for anything, stressing that they did not want to see anyone from Mafutseni Umphakatsi at their community at anytime.
“We have our own chief who was recognised by the King and there is no way we can vote under another chief.
I would like to warn the Mafutseni people not to dare come to Mahlabane to register us because they will be dead men, we are ready for anything. For the past 15 years we have not been voting and we have had enough of this.
"We also want to be heard and respected as citizens of the country,” said Thwala.
Mathole Mabuza echoed Thwala’s words, stressing that they wanted to be recognised.
“I have been around this place for sometime now and can attest that we have our own chief.
For over 10 years we have not been represented in parliament and if we are to vote under Chief Ngalonkhulu, we would rather stay like this for the next five years, we are used to it,” he said.
They disclosed even tried to seek audience with Ludzidzini governor Jim Gama who referred them to the Manzini Regional Administrator (RA) Prince Masitsela but nothing happened.
“Gama said the RA was to arrange a meeting for us with the Elections and Boundaries Committee Chairman Chief Gija but that meeting never materialised,” she added.
Reached for comments, Prince Masitsela said the issue of the two chiefdoms would only be settled by His Majesty the King.
He added that the division started a while ago and it was now tough for him to comment because the issue was now ‘heavier’ than he could handle.
“All I can say to Mahlabane community is that they must register for the elections,” the prince said.