Swazi Observer - - NATIONAL NEWS - By Samke­lisiwe Khoza

THE Eswa­tini Elec­tions Sup­port Net­work un­der the Co­or­di­nat­ing Assem­bly of Non-Gov­ern­men­tal Or­gan­i­sa­tions (CANGO) con­grat­u­lates the Elec­tions and Bound­aries Com­mis­sion (EBC) on suc­cess­ful and trans­par­ent 2018 nom­i­na­tions.

The net­works’ Head of Ob­server Mis­sion, Tjengsile Sha­bangu made these re­marks dur­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s press brief­ing on their Elec­toral Ob­server Mis­sion yes­ter­day at CANGO of­fices.

“The Eswa­tini Elec­tions Sup­port Net­work hereby ob­serves that the nom­i­na­tion process was trans­par­ent, peace­ful, free and fair in all the nom­i­na­tion cen­tres.

The Elec­tions Sup­port net­work would like to con­grat­u­late His Majesty’s Gov­ern­ment and the Elec­tions & Bound­aries Com­mis­sion on a suc­cess­ful nom­i­na­tion process,” she said.

Sha­bangu ex­plained that they had de­ployed 110 ob­servers in 87 nom­i­na­tion cen­tres in 37 Tinkhundla con­stituen­cies across all Eswa­tini re­gions.

She also com­mended the EBC for the use of Twit­ter and Face­book pages which pro­vided key up­dates for the nom­i­na­tions.

Sha­bangu added that in most nom­i­na­tion cen­tres, there were usu­ally around 300 el­i­gi­ble vot­ers that ef­fec­tively par­tic­i­pated in the nom­i­na­tion process se­lect­ing their own choices to rep­re­sent them in the next par­lia­ment and lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tion.

She ex­plained that the high­est turnout was seen at KaMkhweli in Sipho­fa­neni, where over 1 500 el­i­gi­ble vot­ers par­tic­i­pated.

“This shows that the nom­i­na­tion cen­tres were an­nounced well in ad­vance al­low­ing the com­mu­nity to ef­fec­tively par­tic­i­pate in the process.


Dur­ing the nom­i­na­tion days, ra­dio an­nounce­ments in Siswati con­tin­ued to be aired dur­ing the day and this is greatly en­cour­aged,” she added.

Fur­ther­more, the head of ob­server mis­sion high­lighted that the EBC went to great lengths to en­sure that sig­nage was placed in most nom­i­na­tion cen­tres and pub­lic trans­port was made avail­able to all el­i­gi­ble vot­ers al­low­ing com­mu­ni­ties to par­tic­i­pate in the process.

“In all ar­eas cov­ered, most pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers were knowl­edge­able on the nom­i­na­tion process to be un­der­taken as pro­vided in the elec­toral laws of Eswa­tini,” she said.

She said most nom­i­na­tion cen­tres were set up and ready to start work­ing by eight in the morn­ing and by nine most had com­menced the nom­i­na­tion process.

Sha­bangu added that most nom­i­na­tion cen­tres fin­ished the process around five pm and took an av­er­age of 8 hours to fin­ish the nom­i­na­tion process.

“Timely and ad­e­quate pro­vi­sion of voter ma­te­ri­als to un­der­take nom­i­na­tion ex­er­cise could en­sure that un­nec­es­sary de­lays are avoided,” she said.

“Ac­ces­si­bil­ity cov­ers peo­ple liv­ing with phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties and their move­ment in­side a nom­i­na­tion cen­tre, blind peo­ple and hin­drances for them mov­ing around a nom­i­na­tion cen­tre and as­sis­tance that was pro­vided by the com­mis­sion en­sur­ing that they en­joy their full rights,” she added.

How­ever, Sha­bangu also touched on some of neg­a­tives facts that the team noted dur­ing the nom­i­na­tion process, say­ing wherein the nom­i­na­tion process was well or­gan­ised, some nom­i­na­tion cen­tres were changed at the last minute like Emh­lane, Old Nkhaba Inkhundla which caused con­fu­sion to the res­i­dents.

“Some pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers lacked pa­tience in man­ag­ing the process as ob­served in KaLanga. Such mis­un­der­stand­ing could eas­ily have been man­aged by ex­plain­ing the process to the com­mu­ni­ties and what was ex­pected from el­i­gi­ble vot­ers,” Sha­bangu said.

She fur­ther added that lo­gis­tic de­lays were com­mon in most nom­i­na­tion cen­tres due to lack of ex­ten­sion cables to charge lap­tops. She said in some nom­i­na­tion cen­tres, lack of tables and chairs for elec­tion of­fi­cials in­clud­ing shel­ters were also com­mon de­lay­ing the com­mence­ment of the nom­i­na­tion process. “Some cen­tres had PA sys­tems and some had mega phones. Some of the nom­i­na­tion cen­tres fin­ished as late as 8:00pm like Nkanini Um­phakatsi

in Lobamba,” added Sha­bangu. She went on and shared that even though most polling sta­tions were ac­ces­si­ble to peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties which she said is com­mend­able as it al­lows for the in­clu­sion of the rights of peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties but there were those few who made it im­pos­si­ble for some peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties espe­cially those on wheel­chairs as some polling sta­tions such as schools lacked wheel­chair ramps.

(Pics: Lucky Sime­lane)

FULL HOUSE: Emaswati came in num­bers dur­ing the na­tional elec­tions at Madlenya Chief­dom in Sipho­fa­neni on Sun­day.

TRANS­PAR­ENT: EBC Chair­man Chief Gija.

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