Elections Commissioner plotting “fraud” to remove Lutfo Dlamini


JOHANNESBURG :Ncumbi Maziya, the controversial Commissioner of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) wants to rig the coming elections to prevent former Labour Minister Lutfo Dlamini from bouncing back to power.

This disclosure comes after series of reports published by the now defunct Swaziland Shopping newspaper exposing how Maziya drove from Nkhanini to Ndzingeni in the Hhohho region with a bundle of highly questionable votes purported to be that of civil servants who voted in Manzini. After the counting of the votes, the Commissioner was seen celebrating by pouncing in the air shortly after confirming that Lutfo Dlamini has lost the elections. When asked to comment on the allegations, the EBC Commissioner said he was acting on a command to remove the former Labour Minister from power. He accused this journalist of being influenced by EBC Chairman Chief Gija Dlamini and Lutfo Dlamini to expose him, however he failed to substantiate his allegations. “I will report you to those who commanded me, I was at work. Since you were sent by Lutfo and Gija to write about me, I will also report you to those who sent me” he said.

Insiders disclosed that this time, there is a secret plot to use votes purported to be that of inmates from His Majesty’s Correctional Services. An investigation conducted by this publication gathered information suggesting that around the year 2017, Sfiso Khumalo, the Attorney General of the Kingdom of eSwatini wrote to Principal Secretary Lorraine Hlophe in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs warning that “despite that the provision of the Constitution allows inmates to exercise their right to vote, the was no legal framework that supports how this could be done”. The AG was responding to a letter from the Justice Ministry seeking legal advice as the allegations regarding the possibility of vote rigging by some officials within the EBC intensify. It is alleged that the correspondence between the AG and the PS seen by this Swaziland News publication came after a serious of disagreement that erupted within the EBC over a decision to allow inmates to vote without a legal framework on how the votes would be managed to avoid rigging that allegedly marred the previous elections.

When reached for comments Lutfo Dlamini, the potential candidate for the MP position under Ndzingeni Inkhundla said if the people of his Constituency nominate him he would stand for the elections. The former Cabinet Minister said he believes the people should be allowed to exercise their right to decide who should represent them in Parliament “ Lets allow the voters to freely decide who they want as their MP. Anyone going against this God given King Sobhuza Tinkhundla system is an enemy of the State.

Our Tinkhundla elections are people and majority driven. If my people decide to nominate me I will 100% abide the elections laws and wishes of the people” he said. An EBC official who spoke on condition of anonymity said he was aware of the plot to rig the elections but clarified that it was not only Lutfo Dlamini who was targeted. The EBC official said in as much as this might be a threat to many aspiring MPs, it was easy to monitor and prevent those planning this election fraud. “This thing is very simple, all inmates are known in their communities and it’s very hard that a single Constituency could have over 50 inmates. BoGalajane (elections campaign agents) should demand that each vote be scrutinized to verify if that inmate is known in the community. They shouldn’t allow anyone to just open an envelope and mix the ballot papers without verification that would be very dangerous. Kumele kuvulwe leli voti kutsiwe nangu “Sibanibani”, siboshwa salandzaweni, niyamati kambe? Batsi BoGalajane yebo siyamati, lifakwe ke lelivoti kulamanye. Kuphindze kuvulwe lelinye kanjalo- kanjalo(meaning: Every vote from by the inmates must be confirmed first by the elections agents to ascertain if that inmate is known in the community” said the insider within the EBC.

An independent investigation uncovered that in 2013, Lutfo Dlamini who was marked to become the next Prime Minister of Swaziland, subsequently became a victim of vote rigging masterminded by Ncumbi Maziya and other forces who were supporting Barnabas Dlamini to retain his position. The intention according to our sources was to kick him out of power after the then Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini strategically influenced the enactment of an Election Law that restrict individuals who lost elections to be eligible for political appointments. In 2013, Maziya was allegedly in support of powerful forces that involve members of the royal family who wanted Barnabas Dlamini to retain his position. However another royal faction linked to the Queen Mother Ntombi Tfwala was favoring Lutfo Dlamini. When questioned on the matter, Ncumbi Maziya, a close ally of King Mswati alleged that he was commanded to drove with the votes to Ndzingeni, however he failed to mention where the command came from.

“I was commanded to make sure your friend Lutfo doesn’t rig the elections” said the Commissioner arrogantly when speaking to this journalist.

But sources revealed that from the beginning, out-going Prime Minister who masterminded the election law that restrict politicians who lost elections from being appointed was part of this plot, it could not be ascertained whether King Mswati was aware of this political drama that manifested behind the scenes. Now as reports emerge that Lutfo Dlamini might be the next PM, political tension has escalated again, a huge faction want him out of the race to hospital hill. Among others, the former Foreign Affairs Minister stand accused of being responsible for the influx of Asians in the country, allegations that he denied in Parliament during a probe. Addressing the Parliament Select Committee investigating the influx of Asians, Dlamini accused a Mbabane based businessman of spreading propaganda against him to tarnish his image. But despite his explanation, some royal sources said should Dlamini be appointed to the PM position that would be the “death” of the country while others believe he is the right candidate as he is deep rooted in the system and would manage to secure investors and boost the ailing economy.