Times of Swaziland
12 September 2008
‘Vote for a woman campaign’ disappointing
By INNOCENT MAPHALALA
MBABANE – Out of more than 300 candidates nationally, for the position of Member of Parliament (MP), a disappointing 33 are women.
This is about 10 percent, which spells little success for the ‘Vote for a Woman campaign’ initiated by government’s Gender Unit and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in May this year.
However, the women behind the campaign believe that even the 33 is a result of their vigorous campaigns.
Two of them, Lomcebo Dlamini and Jane Mkhonta, were guests on Swazi TV’s Face the Nation Programme on Wednesday evening.
They expressed satisfaction at the figures after being probed by programme host, Bongani Dlamini.
They said it was possible for them to reach the 30 percent mark after the secondary elections.
They based this on the fact that a total of 95 people would eventually become Members of Parliament.
At least 55 of these will come from the Tinkhundla centres, while 10 will be appointed by His Majesty the King, in terms of the constitution.
At least 10 more will be elected into Senate by the new members of the House of Assembly.
The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) has confirmed that even though there were still disputes in some areas, there were about 30 female candidates who would stand for the secondary elections.
These exclude women who still hope to be elected as Constituency Governors (Tindvuna Tetinkhundla).
Sabelo Dlamini, EBC spokesman, said as far as they were aware, there were about 30 female candidates for the MP position.
"It is still difficult to come up with an exact figure because some cases are still pending in court," he said.
"However, the Gender Unit (under the Ministry of Home Affairs) would probably have the correct figure."
Mkhonta, who was a guest on Face the Nation, came from the Gender Unit.
Dlamini explained that there were about 340 chiefdoms countrywide.
During the primary election on August 23, one candidate came from each chiefdom, to stand for the secondary elections next Friday, September 19, 2008.
Currently, the candidates are going around the various chiefdoms, on a campaign trail.
This is where they make promises to voters who, in turn, ask questions to test their capabilities as politicians.