17 September 2008
EBC, civic groups meet over Friday election
By Ackel Zwane
CIVIC society and members of political formations expressed doubt that the Elections and Boundary Commission was ready to conduct the elections on Friday.
People’s United Democratic Movement President Mario Masuku asked EBC Chairman Chief Gija to proclaim whether the boundaries between chiefdoms were in order in line with the constitution.
Mzwandile Fakudze, Deputy Chairman of the Commission cited Section 91 which he said required that during the fourth year of parliament it shall then review the boundaries. he said unfortunately, the four years were not yet over and nothing could be done because that was the law.
“The truth and reality is that there are problems but the EBC only came about in 2008. We are aware that the issue of constituency demarcation is crucial,” said Fakudze, reacting to observation relating to the history of conflicts among chiefdoms.
Masuku also cited the number of cases pending in court that might jeopardise the authenticity of the Friday election. Fakudze said there were problems dating back to 2003, for instance, and that could not inhibit the progress of the election because the courts were handling that aspect.
“Elections is a process, not a once off occurrence. It does get into a climax resulting in litigation, which does not mean something is wrong with the process but that people are aware of their rights.
“As you can see, it is now a lawyers’ paradise. Some charge as much as E5 000 just to open a file. It is surprising that lawyers do not look for interim orders,” he said.
The debate was held at Tum’s George Hotel yesterday during a briefing by the EBC and other stakeholders of the terrain in Swaziland ahead of the elections on Friday.
The event was hosted by the SADC Observer Mission.