1 July 2013

Swaziland: Election Fails to Hit Fever Pitch

Photo: Darron Raw
His Majesty, King Mswati III.

The election process has started in Swaziland - but it has hardly reached fever pitch.

The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), the group charged with organising the poll, due to take place on two dates in August and September has struggles to get Swazi people to register. Despite taking the registration process to the people in their workplaces and villages, the EBC struggled to generate interest. In some areas local chiefs announced their subjects would be compelled to register.

King Mswati III extended the dates for registration for a week in an attempt to encourage more people to participate. By the time the registration process is over the EBC expects to have signed up about 70 percent of the people eligible in Swaziland to vote. This compares to 88 percent of eligible voters who registered for the last election in 2008.

A campaign to boycott the election by prodemocracy groups has been running and it is likely this has had some effect on the registration process.

Elsewhere this month, fresh doubts have been raised about the completion of Sikhuphe Airport, dubbed by many as King Mswati's vanity project. One report said the runway was incapable of holding heavy aircraft and another said only 800 passengers per day on average were forecast to use the airport.

Swaziland: Striving For Freedom, now available free of charge on scribd dot com, is the sixth volume of information, commentary and analysis on human rights taken from articles first published on the Swazi Media Commentary blogsite in June 2013. Each month throughout this year a digest of articles will be published bringing together in one place material that is rarely found elsewhere.

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