27 August 2008
Esther Dlamini's election victory cancelled by the High Court
By Sabelo Mamba
THE High Court has issued an interim order declaring results of the primary elections for Member of Parliament under Mbabane East Constituency invalid.
The order was issued by Justice Stanley Maphalala following allegations that the official seal of the ballot box containing votes was tampered with.
The judge directed that the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), which is cited as one of the respondents, to file its answering affidavit before close of business tomorrow and show cause why said order should be made final.
The court also ordered Police Commissioner Edgar Hillary to conduct investigations to ascertain as to who tampered with the official seal of the box.
The application was brought by aspiring MP Alfred Boy Boy Mndzebele, who was beaten by Esther Dlamini with 963 votes to 151 to enable her move to the next stage.
Mndzebele was represented by Sifiso Dlamini.
In court papers, he said the primary elections were conducted on Saturday and that the boxes were entrusted to Mphumelelo Mamba (presiding officer) and Lucy Dlamini (returning officer).
Mndzebele said he was advised that the boxes were at all material times been in police custody.
He alleged that on Monday at around 7 : 15 a.m when he arrived at S.A.G.M Primary School hall for counting "and to my surprise and dismay, the official seal of the ballot box containing the votes was torn."
"I approached the presiding officer and the returning officer to enquire what had happened to the seal," he said.
"I further communicated my suspicion to them that the votes have been tampered with. I informed them that the ballot box in question should not be opened pending an outcome of investigation by the police.
"But none of them entertained me and Mamba informed me that the counting of the votes would proceed irrespective of my complaint."
He argued that after the primary elections, all the ballot boxes were locked and sealed in the presence of all the nominees for each category.
The case returns on Monday.
Also cited as respondents are Esther Dlamini, Teressa Hlophe, Nicolene Mabuza, Dumsani Zwane and Mphikeleli Msibi.