Still no elections turnout results as EBC data computing
Despite the swearing in of members of Parliament and the subsequent beginning of Parliament business, the results for the secondary elections turn out have still not been released as EBC claims to be still capturing and revising the data.
El e c t i ons a nd Boundaries Commission (EBC) communications officer Mbonisi Bhembe admitted that the commission was still computing the data and could not commit as to when the comprehensive results would be published when contacted on Friday.
After over a month, EBC has failed to release and publish complete elections results but only managed to announce the candidates believed to be winners of the elections in each constituency.
The secondary elections were held on September 21 and EBC promptly announced the winners at the 59 constituencies within 48 hours but no there was a breakdown giving the number of votes cast for each candidate released by the commission.
The comprehensive results would not only inform the public of the overall winners but would also indicate: the number of people who turned out to vote (ballot at opening), number of spoilt votes, and actual votes for each candidate among other figures.
Some of these figures were captured on the day of elections after the counting and published by the media on the next day.
Notably, during and after the counting of votes abnormalities were reported and complaints had been lodged as candidates and their agents felt that the figures did not tally and questioned what they termed as ghost votes which either mushroomed or mysteriously disappeared.
For instance, in Manzini North Inkhundla it was reported that the figures did not tally, resulting in an hour standoff between the EBC officials and the candidates.
Residents of Ndzingeni were quoted complaining about the figures which they questioned as they suspect that they did not tally because of alleged rigging.
In fact, one of the losing candidates Mbongeni ‘Stjifiri’ Gule was on record claiming that there were over 200 ghost votes that were recorded at Ndzingeni.
Following the election results, official complaints were lodged by different losing candidates to the EBC about claims of malpractice.
Residents at Ntfonjeni said people were bussed in and allowed to vote after the election had closed.
In t he recent Sibaya ( People’s Parliament) several speakers pointed out that the elections were rigged in their constituencies as they also called for verifications and probes.
Some of there sidents argued that prompt provision of the official results and the breakdown would have brought an element of transparency and satisfaction to the results.
However, with the delay they said they had lost hope as they suspected that the figures were being cooked.
They pointed out that the EBC did not need as much time to capture and release the breakdown as the commission managed to promptly release the primary results with ease, hence failed to understand what was preventing the prompt publishing of the secondary results.
Information gathered suggests that a similar incident occurred in the previous elections; as the secondary results were allegedly not published save for the announcement of the winners.
“This is not new in Eswatini: the full results of the previous election held in 2013 have never been published.
The final round of the election (known as the Secondary Election) was marred by accusations of bribery, vote-rigging and other malpractice.
The EBC has not released the results of the House of Assembly election, although they are known.
The two national newspapers in Eswatini published some results from individual Tinkhundla as they were announced on the night of the election,” says one of the critics.
Information gathered suggests that about 61 per cent of the voting population turned out for the secondary election.
This is about 30 per cent decrease to those who registered for the national elections where over half a million people were reported to have registered.
EBC Communications Officer Mbonisi Bhembe.