3 October 2008
Robert Thwala wanted to go home long before EBC
By Njabulo Dlamini
FORMER Chief Electoral Officer Robert Thwala said he ran his race at the helm of the elections process.
He said he had long expected to relinquish the post by the time the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) was announced. By March this year, he had already hinted an early retirement from the job as he had had enough.
“Conducting the elections for over a decade was enough a period for me. I ran the race and it was time to call it quits,” Thwala, who was 67 at the time the 2003 elections were held, said.
However, he declined to entertain questions on how he viewed the recently concluded 2008 parliamentary elections and management of the process by EBC.
“Commenting could be misinterpreted by some who might have own conclusions regarding the process thus I’ll reserve my comments”.
Thwala was appointed Chief Electoral Officer in March 1993 by His Majesty King Mswati III and saw three elections staged with him at the helm of things (1993, 1998 and the 2003 one).
The elections were held for the first time under the King’s Order-in-Council of 1992, which is the same legislation the 2008 elections were conducted. Prior to his appointment to head the elections, Thwala worked for government his entire working career retiring in 1991.
He got appointed to head the elections office at Nkhanini along with Robert Mdluli, who deputised for him.
Thwala first joined the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives in 1959 and rose through the ranks to become a Senior Agriculture Officer and later Under Secretary before being transferred to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
He took up the post of Chief Immigrations Officer which he held for three years until retirement at the age of 55 in 1991.
By the time he left in March this year, he was 72.