3 May 2008
Voter registration begins
By Fanyana Mabuza
Registration paving the way for this year’s national elections will begin on May 19 running till June 22, 2008.
The Elections and Boundaries Commission’s Chairperson, Chief Gija announced this at the commission’s secretariat at Nkhanini, Lobamba yesterday.
He stated that the registration shall be conducted at all officially approved chiefdoms, strategic places in the country’s cities and towns and at a number of big companies.
He then implored all eligible people to register if they want to be voted for or to vote for a candidate of their choice, as no one will be allowed to vote without registering.
He stressed that it would make things much more easier if people could register at their respective places of abode and where they are known better.
“I implore the nation to register in their numbers so as not to deny themselves this unique opportunity of contributing to this important nation building exercise, that of choosing a future government of their choice.”
Chief Gija continued that due to a number of circumstances, like people staying far from their homes as a result of employment, they can still register in other places, rather than their own, but should ensure that they do mention their respective homes where they will nominate or be nominated for, saying plans had been made to transfer their registration to their own places.
Chief Gija said contingency plans had also been made for voters staying or working outside the country, saying embassies and High Commissions will cater for them. “To register, people should bring their identification documents like the personal identification numbers (PINs). But since not everyone has a PIN, they can bring along their passports or tax identity certificates (emapasi). But as this is a national exercise where all eligible should take part, we have made arrangements that even those who do not have such identification documents can come and register, as long as it is in their respective areas where they are well known, they will be catered for.”
He further quipped that the police will be asked to excuse people for their ‘tax evasion’ just this once, so as not to deny them their right to vote in this important nation building exercise.
He stressed that chief’s residences that have not yet been gazetted will not be used as voter registration centres; hence people should ensure that it is only the officially approved chiefs’ residences that are used.
He disclosed that a comprehensive list of the registration centres would be soon advertised through the country’s media before the exercise begins in earnest.
He also mentioned that contingency plans for the registration of disabled and elderly people who cannot make it to the stations had also been made, and there would be some days where registering officials will get closer to such people, as long as they are know their whereabouts.
This will be achieved by interacting with the respective imiphakatsi.
“The officials will select some days for this, and they shall go there, as we want to reach all the people and not leave anybody behind. Even the police, Correctional Services and army personnel who may be held up in state duties will be catered for. For example, there may be soldiers who patrol the country’s borderline and may be on duty during these days, but they will also be catered for,” he said.
He then thanked the nation for its perseverance, saying they did not deliberately withhold these dates, but there were many tasks at hand.
“May I again take this opportunity to implore every Swazi to register so as to avail themselves a chance to vote or be voted for. Voting is every one’s right and it should be availed to all without fail,” he closed.
After registration exercise is completed, the nomination process, kuncoma, will then take place.