More evidence is emerging that last month’s Swaziland elections were not free and fair.
Even though official election observers including the African Union and the Pan-African Parliament were quick to declare the poll free and fair widespread bribery may have taken place.
The Swaziland Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) which oversees elections in the kingdom has announced it is so concerned about malpractice at the election that it is to investigate complaints of bribery.
Among claims are that newly-elected MPs offered voters alcoholic drinks, money, cabbages and bread amongst other things, to win the electorate’s support.
The chair of the EBC Chief Gija Dlamini is reported to have said Swaziland could not afford to have parliament made up of corrupt individuals.
The Times of Swaziland reported yesterday (1 October 2008) Dlamini saying, ‘As a Swazi I know that bribery is not the right thing to do and I guess every other Swazi knows that for a fact thus there is a need to bring it to a stop.’
As I reported yesterday some aspiring senators are accused of attempting to bribe newly-elected MPs into electing them. In Swaziland MPs choose 10 senators, while King Mswati III chooses the other twenty. In Swaziland senators are not elected by the general public.
The EBC is to investigate claims that aspiring senators are offering between E15 000 (about 2,200 US dollars) and E20 000 to the new MPs in a bid to have their names raised in the House of Assembly and be voted into Senate.