25 August 2008
EMOTIONS RISE IN ELECTION OF HIGH DRAMA
By Staff Reporters
THE unusually huge turn-out at this year’s election can be attributed to intense behind-the scenes-campaigning by the candidates.
Voters had needed no second invitation to go to the polls after they were induced with meat from cow heads, booze and other perks.
For some it is a process to vote or be voted for -for others this is a desperate career move as they have either retired from their jobs, taken leave of absence because of the calling card - E21 000 month salary for being MP.
As a result of the huge turn-out, a number of voting centres ran out of balloting papers on Saturday - needing the election process should continue yesterday.
Today the votes were be counted.
* At one centre, one voter drew a gun and threatened to blow someone’s head off - after being exasperated by the long delay.
* At Mangcongco, drunk youths caused a scene when they arrived to vote with their Autumn Harvest wine bottles.
* There was a mood of annoyance at Nkalaneni when it was discovered there were no ballot papers - and that these papers had been mistakenly sent to Nkalashane.
* In Manzini, some of former MP, Maria Ntshangase’s challengers have reported her to the EBC for alleged cheating.
* At Zombodze Emuva, the elections will continue this morning until midday - a situation which has not gone down well with former MP, Titus Thwala.
On Saturday, the voters waited until 3pm when the elections officers told them to return yesterday. But yesterday, the balloting papers ran out.
“Very bad - very poor planning,” moaned Thwala last night.
At Ngculwini Manzini Regional Education Officer Mduduzi Nkambule stood for the election even though he did not present a letter from his employer allowing him to stand for the election .
The other contestants vowed to take the matter court because they protested in the first place and were told that the letter would be available on Saturday.
Deputy Chief of the EBC, Mzwandile Fakudze said there were proud of the huge turn out. He said they had prepared for large numbers at the polls when they learnt that 75 to 80% of the voting population in the country had registered for the elections.
“In terms of Section 12 of the Elections Order, it is clear that the interests of the voter are paramount. The voter turn out was so high that we were forced to continue the process on Sundays in some areas. Be that as it may, most of the voting process was concluded on Saturday.”
Fakudze said the mix-up of ballot papers was caused by logistics.
He argued that there were three areas known as Vusweni in different parts of the country. There are four places known as Mpolonjeni; four known as Mlindazwe, four known as Kuphumleni and two known as Kwaluseni.
Such scenario makes it common for the ballot papers to be sent to the wrong area, he claimed.