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MBABANE – The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) has clarified the reasons behind the challenges that engulfed the first day of the exercise.

The commission’s Communications Officer Mbonisi Bhembe said they indeed experienced teething problems yesterday. Firstly, he clarified that the EBC will not deploy full-time registration officers in all the over 500 registration centres that were published. Bhembe explained that the sites were divided into two categories. “There are chiefdom polling divisions and polling stations,” he said.

He explained that the polling division would be where the voting would take place when that stage arrived. During the registration, the polling division will work as a centre for the polling stations. Bhembe said the polling division would have officers stationed there. In the duration of the registration exercise, the officers will be visiting the polling stations to conduct registration on certain days. He said the visitation would be determined by the number of people who needed to be registered at that polling station.

Bhembe admitted that there were also challenges at the polling divisions since the teams were not on site by 8am.  He explained that in some centres, they had challenges with the system that was supposed to be used in these stations. “Since we rely on mobile network, some of the SIM cards that were supposed to be used in the systems were not compatible. Therefore, they had to be tested and rerun to ensure that they were working well,” he said. He said this mostly affected Mbabane and Ezulwini sites, hence they started operating later in the day. Bhembe said those were the only challenges they encountered and they were confident that today the process would be smooth.