Violence mars count in Quelimane

Quelimane (Mozambique), 21 Nov (AIM) – Two violent incidents at polling stations on Wednesday night, pitting the police against supporters of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), marred the count in the municipal elections in the central Mozambican city of Quelimane.

In the Icidua neighbourhood, the police tried to prevent a group of MDM supporters from entering polling stations during the count. The MDM crowd, deeply suspicious of the polling station staff, wanted to observe the count – even though the MDM had its accredited monitors at all the polling stations. In the ensuing street battle, the crowd threw stones at the police, and the police fired tear gas canisters.

According to an MDM sympathizer contacted by AIM, something similar happened outside the polling centre at the 3rd February school. A group of MDM supporters wanted to follow the count, and the police attacked and dispersed them. In these incidents several of the MDM supporters were injured.

Elsewhere in the city, the count continued, and as more polling stations posted their results, it became ever clearer that the MDM candidate and incumbent mayor, Manuel de Araujo, has won a convincing victory.

On Thursday morning, AIM visited some of the outlying suburbs of Quelimane, where Araujo was easily beating his opponent from the ruling Frelimo Party, Abel Henriques.

Thus at six polling stations in the Manhaua Primary School (in a part of the city regarded as an MDM stronghold), Araujo took 1,528 votes to only 622 for Henriques.

As for the election for members of the municipal assembly, in four of these polling stations the MDM took 1,116 votes, while Frelimo won 506 votes. A minor party, PARENA (National Reconciliation Party), picked up just 23 votes.

At four polling stations in the Airport Expansion Primary School, Araujo won with 1,100 votes to 446 votes for Henriques. At three of these stations, the MDM slate for the municipal assembly won 739 votes, trailed by Frelimo with 307 votes, and PARENA with 12.

These results from the polling stations are only preliminary, and have yet to be confirmed by the National Elections Commission (CNE). This did not prevent the MDM from celebrating its victory. Cars driven by MDM supporters drove up and down Quelimane streets all night loudly proclaiming their party’s triumph. Some MDM members set up hi-fi equipment on the pavements, and spent the night playing music and dancing.

Post published in: Africa News

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