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MBABANE – We missed out!

This was said by three aspiring politicians; Vusi Masuku, Thubelihle Mavi Kunene and Mandla Dlamini, after they did not find their names on the voters roll before the start of the nominations process on Sunday. The trio raised concerns at Mathendele Township under Shiselweni II Inkhundla, after the validation of the voters roll before the start of the nominations process. The aspiring politicians said the electorate had urged them to take part in the 2023 General Elections. The trio said after accepting the challenge, they were promised that they would be nominated for the positions of bucopho or indvuna yenkhundla. One of the aggrieved trio said he missed the opportunity to be nominated as bucopho, whereas the other two aspired to be indvuna yenkhundla. They said they followed all the necessary procedures in ensuring that all errors noted in the first voters roll were corrected during the validation exercise.


Masuku, one of the complainants, said some Mathendele residents told him to attend the nominations at Mathendele township, so that they would nominate him. Masuku informed this publication that it was painful for him to miss out on the opportunity to become bucopho for Mathendele township. “I checked my particulars during the validation process as per the EBC’s plea. I had to fill in one of the forms regarding a problem I encountered after going through the first voters roll. I had hopes of having my name, together with the polling centre, corrected in the final voters roll but little did I know that this was not to be,” said Masuku. He said during the validation process, he discovered that he had been registered under Mbangweni Umphakatsi, instead of Mathendele. Masuku said he was shocked as he knew no one at Mbangweni and filled in a form to make the necessary changes. “I was born and raised here at Mathendele and not at Mbangweni. Most of Mathendele residents know me and that is why they wanted to have me nominated as their bucopho,” he explained.

Masuku said he thereafter made enquiries from one of the presiding officers on what would happen to him since his name did not appear in the voters roll to be used in the general elections nomination process. According to the trio, one of the presiding officers told them to wait for her superiors for clear instructions regarding his concerns. He said he could not get hold of the superiors even after waiting for long hours. “I patiently waited to be addressed by one the returning officers on the way forward regarding the challenge I faced, unfortunately, I could not get hold of the individual who was supposed to address me. I tried several times, pleading with one presiding officer to at least engage her boss on the issue, but my efforts were unsuccessful since she ended up not wanting to talk to me,” alleged Masuku.

When the nominations started, Masuku said he raised his hand to ask for answers from another presiding officer on what would happen to some of those whose names did not appear in the voters roll. In response, Cynthia Steenkamp, the Presiding Officer, told Masuku that her superiors would address him the moment they showed up. Steenkamp then told him to go and wait in one of the gazebos for the arrival of some EBC superiors and raise his concerns with them. This statement made Masuku angry, such that he told Steenkamp never to say that again as she was the one who was supposed to sort out the issue. “How can you tell me to go and have a word with the returning officer whom I am not even aware of? I am the one suffering today due to EBC’s error. This is unfair. The EBC is failing us as emaSwati. Are the elections fair? No,” said the aggrieved Masuku.

Also, Thubelihle Mavi Kunene, who had a similar case of not finding his name in the voters roll, said his dream of becoming indvuna yenkhundla had been shattered. Kunene, who was excited earlier on the day, told this publication that the residents who had come to support him were left dejected.  “I cannot describe the pain I am going through at the moment. How can I register, do the validation process, and later have my name omitted in the final voters roll?” wondered Kunene. Also, Mandla Dlamini, who also missed the chance of getting nominated for the indvuna yenkhundla position, said the EBC’s error had cost him the opportunity to become a politician in the country. Dlamini stated that he would not bother criticising the EBC for not finding his name in the voters roll if he had failed to validate the voters roll as requested by the commission.