29 August 2013

Swaziland: 'Vote Buying At Swazi Election'

Textile firms in Swaziland have been accused helping to buy votes in the kingdom's primary election.

It is alleged at least three three firms in the industrial town of Matsapha transported their workers by bus to the town of Pigg's Peak where they were paid E400 (US$38), the equivalent of almost a week's wages, by a candidate for their votes.

The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported, 'Two textile employees have confessed to the Times to have boarded buses from Matsapha to Pigg's Peak where they voted. The workers alleged that a registration kit was brought to their firm where they were advised to register to vote in Pigg's Peak.

'"Everything was arranged by our supervisor. She told us that one nominee in Pigg's Peak has asked for our votes and that in return the candidate would pay us E400 each. Hearing such an offer, we did not hesitate but registered to vote in Pigg's Peak. On Saturday, [the day of the primary election] transport was organised and we were driven to Pigg's Peak where we voted. We were each paid E400."'

'This publication has also established that some employees from three textile firms registered to vote in Pigg's Peak.'

Now, losing candidates want the Elections and Boundaries Commission and the courts to have the results nullified and the voting exercise started afresh.

The Anti-Corruption Commission has also been informed.

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