27 September 2008
‘Doward’s cabbages cost me votes’
By Sabelo Mamba
A man, who lost a race to parliament during the secondary elections at Somntongo Constituency in the Shiselweni regions, claims that MP elect Doward Sihlongonyane short-changed him.
Sandile Nxumalo, in papers filed at the High Court, is seeking an order setting aside the secondary elections results under the constituency pending finalisation of his application in court.
Nxumalo alleges that the campaign exercise held at Vimbizibuko Umphakatsi was tainted with irregularity, which gravely compromised and prejudiced him.
He says the exercise was disrupted by Sihlongonyane, who after delivering his campaign speech, directed all people present to go outside to receive cabbages.
Nxumalo argues that as a result of his actions, the whole exercise was disrupted.
“By the time I was to deliver my speech the number of people, who were inside the hall, had greatly decreased,” he says.
“Most people were still outside getting free cabbages. I duly lodged my complaint with the presiding officer (Elphas Mbingo) and advised him that I was grossly prejudiced by the actions of my fellow candidate.
“Mbingo, however, did not attend to my complaint and only said he was sorry about what had happened. I was not afforded an equal opportunity to campaign or address the people.”
Nxumalo further argues that in his polling station at Etjeni, the election process did not go well as certain voters were refused a right to vote yet they had their cards.
He says in fact they had voted in the primary elections, but during the secondary elections they did not appear on the voters roll.
Nxumalo also contends that a kombi belonging to the Elections and Boundaries Commission arrived 40 minutes later at the police station where the ballot boxes were taken to for safe keeping.
As a result, he suspects that the ballot boxes may have been tampered with.
Sihlongonyane got 828 votes his runner up, Nxumalo received 782.
Nxumalo is represented by Mbuso Simelane and the case is pending in court.