Don’t clog up the polling stations, urges Sofala governor

The governor of the central Mozambican province of Sofala, Felix Paulo, has urged voters, particularly in the provincial capital, Beira, not to hang around at the polling stations after they have cast their votes.

Speaking to reporters in Beira after he had voted, Paulo appealed for there to be no congestion at the polling stations. “We ask those who have already voted to leave the polling stations and the vicinity, so that there is space for other voters to exercise their right”, he declared.

In most of the 291 Beira polling stations, there were long queues when the polls opened. Paulo was optimistic about turnout. “I’ve exercised my right”, he said, “but I would like everyone else to do so. Only thus can we choose who should lead us”.

As for the situation in the other Sofala municipalities, particularly the town of Gorongosa, which is the municipality closest to the recent clashes between the security forces and gunmen of the former rebel movement Renamo, Paulo said “everything is under control. The defence and security forces are on the terrain and ready for any eventuality”.

A source in the Sofala Provincial Elections Commission confirmed to AIM that voting had begun normally in Gorongosa.

Both candidates for mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango, the incumbent mayor, and leader of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), and his rival, Jaime Neto, of the ruling Frelimo Party, have called for voters to turn out en masse. Both are confident that they will win.

“Municipal citizens should prepare to crack open the champagne”, declared a confident Simango.

“I’ve already voted”, he told reporters. “Now I’m going to take off my jacket, go to the party’s headquarters and follow events as they unfold nationally”.

Beira was the scene of serious clashes on Saturday, involving MDM and Frelimo supporters, and the riot police. The police attempted to escort a Frelimo motorcade through a large MDM rally. Stones were thrown and the police opened fire into the crowd, with tear gas and runner bullets. MDM supporters than attacked the nearby Frelimo office. 47 people received medical treatment for their injuries, and five of them are still hospitalized.

Post published in: Africa News

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