Tuesday 2019-09-17

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NDZINGENI RESIDENTS PROTEST LUTFO’S ELECTION VICTORY

By Sizwe Dlamini | 2018-09-30

About 100 residents of Ndzingeni yesterday protested at the inkhundla over the election of Member of Parliament Lutfo Dlamini in the recently ended elections.

The protest took place just metres away from former Prime Minister Dr Sibusiso Dlamini’s parental homestead, with the residents completely oblivious of what had happened.

Dlamini died on Friday night at Mkhiwa Clinic in Manzini.

After news of Dlamini’s death started circulating, this publication visited his parental area for reactions from the residents.

However, reporters came across a small protest that was carefully guarded by a large but silent police presence.

When asked what the protest was about, the residents who were singing songs of freedom, said the recent secondary elections were mismanaged by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).

The protesters alleged that local favourite for Ndzingeni Member of Parliament (MP) Mbongeni ‘Stjifiri’ Gule was cheated by the EBC who added 298 ‘ghost’ votes in favour of new Ndzingeni MP Lutfo Dlamini.

The protesters were pictured marching up and down the main gravel road at Ndzingeni, eventually stopping at the Ndzingeni inkhundla gate that was locked and secured by police.

Speaking to this publication, most of the protesters said they did not know that Dlamini had passed away and were shocked by the news.

The protesters said they were interested in speaking to the EBC officials who cheated the Ndzingeni community using ‘ghost’ votes.

“To be very honest with you we do feel bad that Dlamini has passed away and we hope that this time it is not a hoax because in recent times rumours of Dlamini’s death have been circulating constantly on social media.

 As residents of Ndzingeni we did not see the late premier too often so it would be very hard to comment on his death at this point in time.  It’s unfortunate we are in the middle of  a protest against the 2018 elections.

This protest has taken most of our time over the last two days,” said one of the residents. The protesters went on to say Ndzingeni has a known number of residents who voted for Gule and not for the eventual winner Dlamini. “Ndzingeni has close to 7 000 residents divided into nine chiefdoms. These chiefdoms have a certain number of individuals who mostly voted for Gule. So, how did Dlamini win the elections by 298 votes? These are ghost votes as nobody actually voted using those ballots.  We want the EBC to explain where the ghost votes came from.  If the EBC is innocent they should come here to speak to us? Yesterday (Friday) high ranking police officials promised us that today (Saturday) we will get a visit from the EBC but this has not happened, instead the Pigg’s Peak Station Commander Webster Methula came here. He has asked us to revisit our protest on Monday. I hear you speak about the late prime minister’s death but currently we cannot comment,” added another.

When asked to comment about the protest, EBC Communications Officer Mbongiseni Bhembe repeated his last statement, saying he welcomed the protestors to register their complaints with evidence to the EBC head office as the EBC has an open door policy, which allows people to be free to raise their queries.

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