30 August 2008
In God’s name GO!...SCCCO yells at the EBC
By Fanyana Mabuza
The Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisation SCCCO has also slated the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) about the shortcomings of the primary elections held last Saturday.
SCCCO has joined other civic organisations like CANGO, who have openly taken a swipe at the EBC over the way the primary elections were conducted.
Many people have written letters of complaint while others have delivered petitions to the commission, lamenting about the way the process was conducted, while also reporting anomalies they claim to have occurred at their respective polling stations.
In the statement, the SCCCO expressed its disappointment at what they termed ‘the latest election fiasco’ saying, going by the reports in the press, “there were many instances of poorly trained and ill-prepared officers following badly thought out instructions, guided by incompetent rules and overseen by people who are obviously completely out of their depths.”
The statement continued that the Coalition had taken its legal case on the unconstitutionality of the EBC on three main fronts, that it was not independent, was made up of public servants and that is does not have the relevant experience and demonstrable competence.
“Last week has demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt that the experience and competence necessary to run an election is just not there.
“These botch-ups are not accidents, they are completely foreseeable, and a direct result of the incompetent, politically compromised, EBC being pressured to act too soon by outside forces. Why would any independent and competent authority allow the country less than a week for nominations and rush, completely unprepared into a primary election process?”
The statement continued that it had seen the EBC ignoring the 1992 Elections Order and allowing candidates to attempt to bribe voters with gifts.
“We have seen them act outside the Order to introduce the idea of a Voter’s Registration Card and to ignore many of the stipulations regarding the identity and for new rules to be introduced. Worst of all, we have seen a system of registration introduced that allows voters from other outside an inkhundla to be registered there. This leads to widespread, legalised abuses where a candidate can persuade, bribe, or bully voters to register in the candidates’ inkhundla whether or not they actually live there . This leads to the nonsensical situation of the candidates choosing the voters, not the other way around.”
The SCCCO stated that in light of the poor quality of their preparations, their utter disregard for the rights in the Constitution and their obvious lack of both independence and the appearance independence. The Coalition has previously called on the EBC to resign and it repeats that call now.
Under this system, and with these commissioners, elections cannot be free, fair or credible. In Gods name GO!
The Coalition then called for the normal people of Swaziland to support their case by reporting any example of election mismanagement, behaviour or administrative glitches to contact the SCCCO’s office in Manzini, and warned the people that their votes were being stolen from under their noses.
The SCCCO’s Musa Hlophe, when asked as to what motivated them to issue such a statement, explained that they were merely registering their observation of what happened, and which could be an indicator of what would happen in the next stage.
The EBC has over the week been inundated by people who were reporting their qualms over the recent primaries and today only, at least two groups of people from separate places presented petitions to the EBC secretariat at Nkhanini, where they were registering their dissatisfaction over the process or reporting anomalies they claim happened during the primaries.
They were from Mbhuleni at Matsapha and at the Mayaluka polling station under the Nkilongo Inkhundla. The Commission did concede that all did not go as planned last Saturday, but promised that amends had been done in almost all the places where election hiccups were experienced.
Efforts to get comment from the EBC on the SCCCO petition did not yield any fruit as the Information Officer, Sabelo Dlamini failed to return calls after attempts to reach him failed.