RACE FOR SENATE: STAKES RAISED TO E35 000 PER VOTE
The stakes have been raised sky high in this year’s race for 10 Senate seats where the nominated 63 candidates are at the mercy of 69 Members of Parliament (MP)s. Call it state capture, call it normal lobbying, but anyone can be the judge.
It is now common knowledge that money is being offered to parliamentarians, who will vote for certain candidates in the race for Senate seats, but the Observer on Saturday has reliably learnt that the stakes have been increased from as low as E10 000 to E35 000 for a single vote.
This is money that is allegedly offered by an influential family from the Asian community to sway the voting process for the Senators and have the parliamentarians vote for their preferred candidate.
Our sources have revealed that a number of MPs have been approached with the carrot being dangled to them.
Some of the new MPs when reached could only disclose that indeed there was money being dangled around although not coming out clearly who were behind the move.
Indeed the situation was very tense on Thursday night just before the nomination of the Senators started with lobbying glaring on the corridors.
This was after the house had adjourned for a few minutes as the MPs were allowed to get the required tax clearance certificates from their preferred candidates to be nominated.
Such traces of lobbying were also glaring during the day as the MPs endured moments of ambush from the desperate lobbyists who camped at the Parliament to garner for votes from the newly-sworn legislators to win senate seats.
The lobbyists were armed with Curriculum Vitae’s and most of them waited at the entrance looking to ambuscade the MPs on arrival at Parliament and forward their CVs to them.
Appointed and elected MPs were on Thursday sworn-in and they took an oath as official legislators and officiated by the Attorney General Sifiso Khumalo in the House of Assembly.
The latest information comes after Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) Commissioner Ncumbi Maziya also made startling allegations against Members of Parliament whom he accused of selling senate seats for E60 000. The outspoken Maziya, who has overseen two elections, said it had come to his attention that MPs engaged in corrupt tendencies and sold senate seats for E60 000 or more. Maziya was addressing the then aspiring parliamentarians during a workshop recently. He addressed the issue of people who get elected to parliament through bribery and buying votes using alcohol and food.
He said parliamentarians were the most corrupt people. He said he had gathered that parliamentarians were swindling money from people who want to make it into Senate.
Maziya said he learnt that people had been made to fork out money amounting to E60 000 if they wanted to get a vote to be elected into Senate. “If you have no money you won’t make it into Senate,” Maziya stated. Maziya said he felt pity for the women who wanted to be elected into senate because they would have to fork out lots of money in order to convince the men in Parliament to vote for them.
Maziya said blessed are those who know deep down in their hearts that they did not take any cent from anyone in a form of bribe. Meanwhile, all eyes will be on who will eventually make it to Senate on Monday when the voting takes place following the nomination of the 63 aspirants on Thursday night.
It should also be noted that paramedics were in place to provide emergencies in case some aspirants failed to obtain nominations and consequently suffered some heart failures.