Still no elec­tions turnout results as EBC data com­put­ing

Sunday Observer - - NEWS - STO­RIES BY ZWELETHU DLAMINI

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.

Re­sult­ing

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.

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