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MANZINI: After condoning weeks of campaign bribery and flagrantly corrupt electioneering practices, Swaziland’s Elections and Boundaries Committee (EBC) has effectively banned a Manzini girl’s fifth birthday party, lest a candidate hand out “gifts” to the children’s parents in exchange for votes.
Five days before candidates will be chosen for final voting next month, the EBC banned all public festivities, feasts and parties with the exception of weddings.
The girl, Mary Simelane, was devastated, said her mom, Thandi Simelane.
“But we are just going to have to postpone until next month,” said Simelane.
Swaziland holds its primary elections for parliament on Saturday.
Government power is held by King Mswati, who determines what laws are to be given to MPs for their pro forma approval and who may dissolve parliament whenever he likes.
Nonetheless, competition for 55 parliamentary seats has never been fiercer.
Long-time political observers say this year’s election is the most openly corrupt yet.
Numerous MPs have been throwing expensive parties, where liquor and money flow freely, and are staging “charity events” where they donate food and clothing to communities.
The local media spotted Minister of Youth and Culture Hlobsile Ndlovu handing R100 notes to voters who showed her their voter registration cards.