Sunday, August 3, 2008

Swazi Observer

12 July 2008

EBC mum on AUDP claims

By Fanyana Mabuza

The Deputy Commissioner of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, Mzwandile Fakudze, has refused to be drawn into commenting on the African United Democratic Party (AUDP)’s stand that if their members make it to Parliament, they will then regroup and present themselves as a political party inside Chambers.

Even though this will depend much on whether they win votes to make it to Parliament, the party stated that they had engaged a top gear to ensure that they realise their dream. This is despite that they refused to mention their election plans, only saying we will follow the electoral regulations to the tee.

“But even if two of our members can make it, they will then have to stand united and push the party’s manifesto, once inside Parliament, while also declaring their loyalties to the party.”

This would be a first in the country, after political parties were banned in 1973.

The AUDP is adamant that their aspirations are guided by the country’s Constitution, which they claim, allows political party representation in all spheres of Swazi life.

The AUDP has a case pending in the High Court where they sought to force the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to register them as a legal political party with full rights to stand for elections and form a government.

“After our attempts to register were turned down by the Ministry of Justice, which stated it had no power or mandate to register political parties, we then went to court. The matter was heard, but could not be concluded.” They are still awaiting another trial date for conclusion of the matter. “As a movement, and guided by the Constitution, we then decided that the pending finalisation of the court case could not block us from joining the elections race, which is why we have registered, and we are waiting for the next process, that of nomination and in which we will fully participate,” the Party’s Secretary General Sibusiso Dlamini said.

He stated that whatever the case, if some of their members make it to the final stage, once they are in Parliament, they will then regroup again to push their party’s manifesto. The Deputy Commissioner, when asked if this was permissible, he referred this reporter to Section 79 of the constitution.

“I do not have the time for all of that. Just read Section 79 of the Constitution and it will answer all your questions. I cannot comment on what they will do inside Parliament as that is far ahead from now. Just read the said section and please, I am in a meeting, so good bye,” he said.

Section 79 states: “The system of government for Swaziland is a democratic, participatory, tinkhundla-based system which emphasises devolution of power from central government to tinkhundla areas and individual merit as a basis for election or appointment to public office.” Section 87 (1) states: “The election of persons to any chamber of Parliament or Bucopho shall be by secret ballot at both primary and secondary levels or any other level in accordance with the first-past-the-post system in which the person receiving the highest number of votes is elected.”


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