RACE FOR SE­NATE: STAKES RAISED TO E35 000 PER VOTE

Observer on Saturday - - News - Sto­ries by Bodwa Mbingo

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.

Elected

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.

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