News / Africa

Swaziland Electoral Group Rejects ‘Sham Vote’ Criticism

Mswati III, King of Swaziland (L) tours the exhibition hall during the first day of the World Energy Forum at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Oct. 22, 2012.
Mswati III, King of Swaziland (L) tours the exhibition hall during the first day of the World Energy Forum at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Oct. 22, 2012.
Peter Clottey
The spokesman for Swaziland’s Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) has rejected criticisms that the final round of elections scheduled for Friday is a sham.

The electoral group organized a nomination process on August 3-4, following the voter registration process. Then on August 24, the primary election took place in the kingdom.

Electoral Commission spokesman Sabelo Dlamini says enthusiasm showed by prospective voters ahead of the final balloting is a demonstration of their support in the organizational ability of the electoral body to administer a credible election.

“The truth of the matter is we are having a massive participation from the Swazi public. From the number of people who have registered for the election, it is the biggest number that has been recorded in Swaziland in terms of elections,” said Dlamini. “During the primary election, we had cues from 5 am and some polling stations had to close at 12 midnight because there were lots of people that had flocked in to vote.”

Dlamini’s comments came after pro-democracy groups said the ban on the participation of political parties in the election undermines the integrity of the vote. They also called on international poll observers to be vigilant and to not quickly endorse the vote as free and fair.

Swaziland’s constitution prohibits political parties from taking part or campaigning ahead of elections. Pro-democracy groups, including People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), say elections in Swaziland are a mockery of democracy. Dlamini disagreed.

“Political parties are not supposed to participate in an election as a political party because participation in a Swazi election is by individual merit,” said Dlamini. “But, every Swazi is allowed to participate in the elections. Whether you belong to a party or not, you are allowed to participate to vote or be voted for in the elections. There are a number of members of political parties who were nominated and they are participating in the election.”

The electoral group, unlike in many other countries, does not register political parties in Swaziland. Dlamini outlined the criteria that qualify a Swazi to contest in an election.

“You are nominated in your community as an individual to represent that community in parliament. So the electoral and boundaries commission only registers voters individually, not registering them in terms of affiliation to any political party or any other denomination, for that matter,” said Dlamini. 

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, saying that more than 70 percent of Swazis who are eligible to stand for election or to vote in the election have registered to vote.

“That should tell you that Swazis are supporting this process,” Dlamini said.
Clottey interview with Sabelo Dlamini, Swaziland EBC spokesman
Clottey interview with Sabelo Dlamini, Swaziland EBC spokesman i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs