By Bahle Gama
The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) will be starting the vetting process of those thrown into the ring for this year’s elections following the weekend’s nomination process.
This past weekend, emaSwati were seen participating in the nomination stage of the elections whereby people were nominated for Bucopho, Indvuna Yenkhundla and MP positions.
EBC Spokesperson Mbonisi Bhembe said the process would now be followed by the vetting process whereby the Commission will be conducting background checks to ensure that the nominees qualify to partake in the primary elections.
“For the next coming weeks, the Commission will be vetting and doing background checks on all the nominees as per the law which states that anyone who is to take the position of Bucopho, Indvuna Yenkhundla, and Member of Parliament must be vetted,” he said.
Bhembe stated that the vetting process includes checking if the nominee is adhering to certain laws including paying taxes, has no overburdening debts in which the courts had to be roped in to deem that person unfit to serve the public, and any other illegal activities which prohibit one from partaking further in the process as laid out by the Act.
“The public will be notified of who will be rightfully participating on August 26 whereby the primary elections will begin after which campaigning will be opened to all nominees, who will then tell the people how they will be helpful to their communities according to the position nominated in,” Bhembe said.
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He further stated that from then, there will be secondary elections where only one candidate will come out in each of the categories in which emaSwati has been nominated.
Bhembe further applauded emaSwati for coming out and showing zeal and energy toward participating in the nominations.
“Of course, such a large exercise is bound to have challenges here and there including finding out people registered but ended up not participating in the exercise. This is a result of people making requests to be changed from where they had been registered either by mistake or otherwise, however, we are glad that EBC rectified these issues in time,” he said.
In ensuring that nominees are given an equal opportunity, the EBC ensured to sensitize in time to the importance of participating in this exercise.
“We taught people about the importance of everyone participating in this exercise and further understanding their role and right to do so equally, from women to the youth in all constituencies. As a result, we have seen men, women, youth, and people living with disabilities being nominated which is an indication that sensitizing on the election in time played a huge role,” Bhembe stated.
Nominees to stop working until elections end
There is a letter permitting nominees to stop reporting to their place of employment until the elections come to an end. This is according to Bhembe who stated that those nominated, especially government employees, will find themselves using those positions or jobs assigned to them in campaigning.
“There is a letter that stipulates that they should halt working because it is likely they would be using employer’s resources in campaigning which is an unfair advantage to those who are unemployed and have to do the same thing,” he said.
Bhembe stated that everyone must be given an equal and fair opportunity during the election process, for people to vote based on knowing the nominee and their capability not because of their employment.