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Friday, 23 August 2013

ELECTION GRINDS TO A HALT

Thousands of people were reportedly turned back from polling stations in Swaziland as the kingdom’s primary elections ground to a halt on Thursday (22 August 2013).

The kingdom’s Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) had arranged a special day of voting for its own staff and security forces personnel.

All the polling stations to serve the whole kingdom were allocated in the city of Manzini, but many had no ballot papers.

As many as 7,000 people had been expected to vote. Election officers told waiting crowds to return on Friday.

The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported, ‘The voting took place in Manzini where staff from all the regions had been allocated different polling stations. However, only a handful were able to cast their votes.’ 

It added, ‘The [EBC] had announced that the voting process would start at 2pm, but hundreds had started flocking in at the stated centres as early as 10am from all over the country. They queued for eight hours and they were told to go back home at about 6pm.

‘First, the process was delayed for over an hour and upon commencement, there was pushing and shoving as the voters tried to get into the voting room in order to return home on time.The delay, some officials alleged, had been caused by the fact that some presiding officers, who were supposed to conduct the voting, had not arrived and there were no ballot papers in quite a number of the stations.’

The EBC employed about 4 000 Swazis as elections officers, returning officers, presiding officers and clerks. Members of the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force, that employs about 3,000 officers, the Royal Swaziland Police and His Majesty’s Correctional Services were among those who had been called to vote, the newspaper reported.

The EBC later confirmed there was a shortage of voting material at polling stations.

The primary election for ordinary Swazi people is due to take place on Saturday (24 August 2013).

See also

ELECTION LAW BROKEN ACROSS KINGDOM
CANDIDATES SAY ELECTION ‘SABOTAGED’
SWAZI ELECTION ‘WILL BE A FRAUD’

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