By KWANELE DHLADHLA | 2023-06-15
The massive turnout of eligible citizens, which saw figures spike by over 50 000 yesterday, has prompted an extension of the 2023 general elections voter registration deadline by four days.
On instruction of His Majesty King Mswati III, Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) Deputy Chairman Bishop, Sipho Tembe disclosed that the voter registration had been extended to Sunday June 18,at 6pm.
By 7pm, the total number of registered voters, which increased at every, minute stood at 524 240, reflecting an increase by over 50 000 when compared to slightly above 475 000 that had been recorded on the day preceding the initial deadline of June 14.
Female voters continued to take the lead with 283 736 registrations while males were at 242 339. People with disabilities also surpassed the 20 000 mark as there were 20 897 registrations.
Information gathered from officials at the country’s over 300 polling stations was to the effect that there were currently over 30 000 people that were still queuing to make their vote count by 6pm in line with the slogan pronounced by the King, Ngete Ngasala Sakha Kwetfu.
EBC officers also burnt the midnight oil as they worked beyond the normal hours to ensure that everyone who showed up manages to reserve space in the voters roll.
“Following the massive response by Emaswati to register for the 2023 general elections, particularly towards the registration deadline, it has pleased His Majesty to command EBC to extend the registration deadline to Sunday at 6pm.
It is the commission’s hope and belief that Emaswati will take advantage of this extension and register in numbers both young and old as they have already done so in the initial registration period,” said Tembe who was in the company of Head of Secretariat, Khombisile Dlamini and Commissioner Chief, Mawandla Gamedze during a press conference convened at the EBC offices yesterday evening.
During the course of the press conference, which lasted for about 20 minutes, about 100 members of the public queued at the auditorium to register. Unpacking some of the contingency measures that had been implanted by EBC for the sake of efficiency at the eleventh hour, Tembe disclosed that some of the people were transported from the packed to less crammed polling stations.
He made an example that some of the people were transported from Matsapha (Kwaluseni) to EBC offices, which had a lesser number of people by close of business, which has also been shifted from 5pm to 6pm as means to cater for some of the voters who pitch at the stations after work hours.
Tembe went on to disclose that they had also added clerks and registration stations at the busy places, especially in towns across the kingdom. The deputy chairman pointed out that in most of the polling stations located in rural areas, they closed at 5pm because there were no longer any queues.
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