Swaziland’s Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) has called for an end to ritual killings around voting time.
The EBC is concerned about reports of people mysteriously disappearing across the kingdom. There has been evidence of ritual murders in past elections.
Voters go to the polls for the national election in 2018 at a date yet to be set by King Mswati III who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. The EBC is touring the kingdom in a series of ‘voter education’ meetings.
At KaLanga in the Lugongolweni constituency EBC educator Cynthia Dlamini said ritual murder reports increased during election time.
The Swazi Observer reported on Monday (26 June 2017), ‘Dlamini said this was one belief driven by lunacy which, tarnishes the image of the country in the process. She said the commission condemns such beliefs and called for intensive investigations against those who would be suspected of ritual killings.’
At the last election in 2013, The Swaziland Epilepsy Association warned that cases of the abduction of epileptic people always increased during elections.
Mbuso Mahlalela from the association told the Swazi Observer at the time it was common that during the time of elections the vulnerable were targeted and abducted. He spoke after a report that a 13-year-old epileptic boy might have been abducted for ritual purposes.
The number of ritual murders increases during election year. Before the previous election in 2008 a march by civil society groups to draw attention to the problem was banned by the government amid fears that it would bring bad publicity to Swaziland and might embarrass King Mswati, who had spoken out against the practice.
The Times of Swaziland reported at the time the march had been motivated by the mystery disappearances and murders of women. Some of these had been found mutilated fuelling speculating that they were related to rituals.
Some Swazi people believe body parts can be used as ‘muti’ which is used to bring good fortune to candidates at the election and help them to win seats in parliament.
In 2008, it was strongly rumoured in Swaziland that the reason why members of the government wanted to ban discussion on the ritual murders was that some of them had themselves used ‘muti’ to get elected.
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