21 May 2008
Registration at umgijimi's home
By Sisho Magagula
Residents under the Mzimnene community are currently registering for the coming national elections in another man’s home.
This is despite that in some communities, potential voters are registering in neutral stations such as Tinkhundla Centres, Police Stations, and Imiphakatsi.
Since Monday, Peter Ndzinisa’s home, who is the area’s Chief Runner (umgijimi), has been a hive of activity, with residents flocking the place to register.
When our newsmen visited the home yesterday afternoon, four old women were found registering.
Registration Clerk Thulasizwe Thwala told the Swazi Observer that the decision to register at the Chief Runner’s home was taken by the area’s umphakatsi.
“There’s nothing we can do about it. We were told this is a registration station and we will conduct our duties here,” he said. Sabelo Sikhondze, who sits as an umsumphe (elder in the community) said there was nothing sinister with having people registering at the Chief Runner’s home.
“This decision was taken by the umphakatsi, and the reason is that the umphakatsi is far and the old aged and the disabled may have difficulty reaching the umphakatsi to register. Take for instance these old women here; they are all using walking sticks and there is no doubt that walking the long distance to the umphakatsi is impossible for them.
“The point I’m trying to put across here is that this decision was taken in the best interest of the residents, and to ensure that everyone gets a chance to register and vote,” Sikhondze said.
Other voters, however, expressed concern that they have to undergo the khulekela custom (announcing one’s presence when approaching a homestead) as though they had gone to the homestead to beg for food or assistance. They condemned that such an exercise of national importance should be undertaken in the private premises of a mere citizen.