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MANZINI – There are gangs reportedly using death and arson threats to instil fear in the electorate in two communities in the Manzini Region.

The two communities are Timbutini, which is under Mafutseni Constituency and KaKhoza, under Manzini South Inkhundla. The former is a peri-urban community located about 20 kilometres south-east of Manzini, while KaKhoza is aperi-urban township located about five kilometres from the central business district (CBD) of Manzini. According to sources at Timbutini, where an arson attack was launched in the past at the homestead of a witness in a political case and also another on the house of a service woman, there is a clique which purportedly induces fear to members of the public when they are headed to register at the various voter registration stations.

Sources within the community claimed that the group of individuals who were instilling fear in the community members at Timbutini informed those who were partaking in meetings and or seeking to register that they would beat them up, set their places of abode on fire and or kill them. Community members further claimed that they had reported the issue to the police several times. They claimed that the purported perpetrators of the violence were known within the community.

Meanwhile, it is worth noting that the youth of Timbutini forcefully took a herd of 40 cattle from their indvuna as a chieftaincy dispute raged on.
The herd of cattle was reportedly taken when the Indvuna, Skuta Nkambule, returned with them from the dip tank. This was said to have been after several attempts by the youth seeking to repossess the cattle from the royal kraal headman. The youth is reportedly contesting the existence of Enkhokhokhweni umphakatsi and are said to be demanding that it should cease to exist. When the youth, according to sources took the herd of 40 cattle, the indvuna was said to have fled to Mafutseni Police Station to seek refuge as he allegedly feared for his life.

Subsequent to this, Nkambule reportedly opened a case with the police, who in turn issued summons to some members of the youth so that the issue could be heard at the Manzini Magistrates Court. The feud between the royal kraal headman and the youth is said to have been ongoing for a lengthy period, as it was gathered that at several instances, the former would constantly visit the latter to demand that the royal kraal duties should be engaged at Ekhwapheni and not at Enkokhokhweni. Meanwhile, at KaKhoza, community police member Phillip Sithole said he was aware of a report that some residents of Mhobodleni were threatened and told not to participate in the elections.

He said these were people who were plainly spreading false rumours and had the intention of instilling fear in the residents. Sithole reminded those who had motives of disrupting elections that there was a two-year sentence for committing such an offence. He warned people against committing such crimes, adding that they would not be successful in accomplishing them as the community police, as well as national security forces, were working tirelessly to fight against such crimes. He attested to that more residents were warming up and were seen to be registering at KaKhoza.
On the other hand, the Times SUNDAY recently reported that there were legal provisions that penalised threats and sabotaging of the elections.


It was reported that Section 78 (1) (c) of the Elections Act, 2013, stated that a person shall not directly or indirectly, by oneself or by any other person, do or threaten to do anything to the disadvantage of any person in order to induce or compel any person to do the following -
(i) to register or not to register as a voter;
(iii) to vote or not to vote;
(iv) to vote or not to vote for any candidate;
(v) to support or not to support any candidate; or
(vi) to attend and participate in, or not to attend and participate in any election meeting, march, demonstration or other election event.

Furthermore, it was reported that Section 78 (1) (a) stipulated that a person shall not directly or indirectly, by oneself or by any other person make use of or threaten to make use of any force, violence or restraint upon any other person. It is also a criminal offence in terms of Section 78 (1) (b) to inflict or threaten to inflict by oneself or by any other person or by any supernatural or non-natural means or pretended supernatural or non-natural means any physical, psychological, mental or spiritual injury, damage, harm or loss upon or against any person.

According to the provisions of the Act, no person shall prevent anyone from exercising a right conferred by this legislation. It is then stated in Subsection 5 that a person who contravenes any of the provisions of Subsections 1-4 (provisions stated above) commits an offence of undue influence.
The publication also quoted the Elections Act, wherein it provides that a person who, by abduction, duress or any fraudulent device or contrivance, impedes or prevents the free exercise of the vote of any voter, commits an offence of undue influence.


Therefore, this person shall on conviction be liable to pay a fine not exceeding E10 000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or both.
This person also faces the fine or imprisonment if he or she compels, induces or prevails upon any voter either to give or to refrain from giving the person’s vote at any election. Under the Voters Registration Act, 2013, undue influence, in terms of Section 36, carries a fine not exceeding 10 years or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or both. However, Section 33 of the Voters Registration Act provides that a person who uses force or threats to prevent another one from exercising his or her right to register as a voter is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding E20 000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.


Another legal provision that people should be made aware of is Section 79, which provides that publishing a false statement of the illness, death or withdrawal from election of a candidate is an illegal practice. “A person who, before or during an election, publishes a false statement of the illness, death or withdrawal from election of a candidate at that election for the purpose of promoting or procuring the election of another candidate, knowing that statement to be false or not believing it to be true, commits an illegal practice,” reads Section 79 (1). Publishing false statement carries a fine not exceeding E20 000 or imprisonment not exceeding three years or both.

The publication reported that people who were calling for the boycott of the elections to an extent that they are determined to sabotage the voting process should be wary of Section 85 of the Act. Section 85 provides that a person who without lawful authority destroys, mutilates, or removes a notice which is exhibited under the authority of this Act, or a document which is made available for inspection in accordance with this Act, commits an offence. It is provided that he or she is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding E2 000 or, in default of payment of the fine, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year.


Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati said there was an ongoing land dispute at Timbutini, which the police were aware of. She said nothing related to the elections had been reported; however, if the public observed and or was intimidated, they should contact the police on their tollfree number 999 or 112. On the reported gang at KaKhoza, Vilakati said nothing had been reported to them but should there be cases of same, the public should make use of the tollfree number.