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    eSwatini elections marred by violence

    APA-Mbabane (eSwatini)

    The day of the Secondary Elections in eSwatini has been marred by chaotic scenes in polling centres on Friday.

    The outbursts of violence started as early as noontime and intensified in the evening when the counting of votes was about to resume.

    In some areas protesters who were not satisfied with certain procedures blocked vehicles transporting ballot papers to counting stations, resulting to delays in starting the counting process.

    The bone of contention varied from last-minute change of counting centres to suspicions of malpractice by some candidates or their campaigning agents.

    An Manzini North, Manzini South, Sigwe and Ekupheleni centres the police had to request for backup from the Operational Services Support Unit (OSSU) after vehicles from the Elections an Boundaries Commission (EBC) were forced to turn back to polling stations for safety after roads leading to counting centres were literally blocked with stones and tree trunks by protesting crowds.

    These areas are under the Manzini and Shiselweni geographical regions of eSwatini.

    Chief Police Information and Communication Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati confirmed that police officers were constrained to use stun grenades in order to chase away the violent voters and to further protect voting material.

    At Malindza in the Lubombo region, an intoxicated member of the army drove over a male voter and further crashed onto two cars that were parked within the polling station premises.

    The police also confirmed the accident and said the soldier was arrested and charged.

    Presiding officers revealed that the first batch of results is likely to be announced on Saturday while all counting stations are expected to have completed the process by 1pm on Saturday.


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