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MBABANE – Human Rights Lawyer Sibusiso Nhlabatsi says what happened over the weekend is a sign that the elections are not fair for some candidates.

He was responding to a question on what it meant to someone who had registered for the general elections, only to find that his or her name did not appear in the voters roll. Nhlabatsi said Tinkhundla claimed to allow the participation of emaSwati as per the Constitution, but what happened during the weekend was a different story. He said Section 77 of the Constitution talked about the participation on individual merit, while Section 58 spoke about participation at all levels. “We are saying an individual participates by first registering, nominating or being nominated and then cast a vote. It is a sign of not having free and fair elections if someone who registered cannot find his or her name in the voters roll. It might be possible that the person had the potential of nominating or being nominated,” he said.

Nhlabatsi said it was wrong for people’s names not to appear in the voters roll, despite registering for the general elections. He said the complainants could challenge the process in court, based on the fact that they registered for the elections but had their names omitted from the final voters roll. “The elections are just showing a sign of not being free and fair from the onset. I think the individuals can put the EBC to the test by asking them why they had their names omitted from the voters roll, despite being encouraged to register for the general elections, yet now coming with lot of excuses,” he explained. He further said the removal of individuals’ names from the voters roll, even after registering, was unfair. Another issue that emanated from some residents was that they filled in the forms during the validation process upon discovering that it appeared that they would partake in the elections in other chiefdoms.


Despite them following the procedure, it was discovered that the challenges were not resolved. Nhlabatsi was then asked whether there was any step the affected individuals could take.
In response, the human rights lawyer stated that what happened was a sign of the EBC’s incompetence. “If the electoral body is incompetent, it means the elections would be discredited. It is unfair for the EBC to fail to deliver as expected. This can also be challenged in court,” he said. According to Nhlabatsi, what happened at the EBC in as far as the voters roll was concerned, was early signs of not having free and fair elections. He wanted to know what would happen in the primary and secondary elections if there were such problems raised by certain citizens.