The spokesman for Swaziland’s Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) says the group will release a preliminary voters list this week that would be used for the September 20 national election.
“We will be issuing a draft voters roll for all the registered voters to verify and confirm if their registration details have been captured correctly,” said commission spokesman Sabelo Dlamini. “And everything is still falling according to plan.”
“Already we have 415,012 Swazis who have registered for the elections. The final voters’ roll will be issued just before the nomination process -- the nomination being on the 3rd and 4th of August, so by the time of the nomination the final voters roll will be issued.”
Dlamini says the electoral body is encouraged by the level of enthusiasm demonstrated by prospective voters during the recent voter registration process that ended on June 30. He says the EBC has begun a voter education campaign in the run up to vote.
“The EBC has traveled across several constituencies, across several communities, teaching the public about the importance of elections and how to go about voting,” said Dlamini. “The public is enthusiastic and that can be evidenced by the number of Swazis that have registered to vote.”
Some critics have said the EBC only registered about 70 percent of eligible voters this year, compared to 88 percent of registered voters during the last election in 2008. Dlamini disagreed.
“If you considered the numbers, out of 600,000 people who are eligible to register, 415,000 have already registered and [are] a part of the process. That to us shows that Swazis are really enthusiastic about this process and they support the elections,” said Dlamini.
Official campaigning is scheduled to begin in August, according to the EBC. Dlamini says the electoral commission expects international poll observers to arrive in the country at least a month ahead of the election.
“We expect them to arrive anytime to start observing the election. Usually they arrive around the time of the secondary election, which will be held on September 20. They are always welcome to Swaziland and we will do everything possible to assist them in the course of their work,” said Dlamini.
But, the leader of Swaziland’s banned opposition People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) has called on citizens to boycott the vote.
Mario Masuku says elections in Swaziland are part of the government’s plan to prevent the population from demanding multiparty democracy in the southern African kingdom.