14 June 2013

Swaziland: Election - Corruption At Registration

Photo: Darron Raw
His Majesty, King Mswati III.


People are registering more than once ahead of the Swaziland national election due in September.

The revelation puts the integrity of the election in the kingdom ruled by the autocratic monarch King Mswati III in doubt.

The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) said some people were offered bribes of E100 (US$10) or E200 to register twice.

EBC Chair Chief Gija Dlamini told local media, 'There are people who have promised the voters that, if they vote for them twice, they will give them E100 or E200 and they get tempted.'

He said voters caught registering more than once would be arrested.

Despite double-registering, the total number of registrations for the election has fallen far short of the 600,000 people who are entitled to vote. Registration ends on 23 June and at the current rate of sign-up, the EBC might not reach 400,000 voters.

The registration process has been hampered by computer break-downs and staff who have not been trained properly to use them.

A campaign to boycott the election is gathering pace in Swaziland. Political parties are banned from taking part in the election and the parliament that is selected has no real power and acts as a rubber stamp for King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch.

Last week the EBC said it did not have enough money to run the election successfully as the Swazi Government had cut its allocation from E200 million to E100 million. It is claimed that the EBC cannot afford enough staff to monitor the registration of voters across the whole kingdom. There is also doubt that staff working for the EBC will be paid on time.

The Times of Swaziland quoted Chief Gija saying, 'The current state we are in is caused by the initial budgeting constraints. We had asked for E200 million, but government said it could only afford E100 million. It does not come as a surprise then when we struggle in some aspects. The money is now less and we are patching here and there.'

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