Mozambican elections body to punish staff involved in misconduct

Mozambique’s National Elections Commission (CNE) has promised to take measures against all those electoral staff who were involved in the gross irregularities that marred the 20 November local elections in many municipalities.

“We have already begun to hold responsible those members of staff whose behaviour stained the performance of the CNE”, the Commission’s chairperson, Abdul Carimo, told reporters on Thursday, immediately after the Constitutional Council, the highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law, had announced that the irregularities committed in the central town of Gurue had been so serious as to warrant annulling the elections there and re-running them.

He stressed that staff members who committed abuses were not acting on the instructions of the CNE, and that alone made them liable to disciplinary proceedings.

Carimo did not know how many polling station staff had been involved in the Gurue scandal. “I cannot yet tell you the number of those involved and of those who will be punished”, he said. “But the number of irregularities implies that a large number of people were involved”.

It is, however, not just polling station staff – the Constitutional Council ruling on Gurue implicated the Zambezia Provincial Elections Commission in illegal behaviour that compromised the results.

Carimo, cited by the independent newsheet “Mediafax”, also blamed “the exaggerated interference” of political parties, which prevented the normal functioning of the electoral bodies. This is in line with accusations leveled repeatedly against the ruling Frelimo Party of exercising undue influence over election staff.

“Let me say that there is huge interference by political parties”, said Carimo. “Each party tries to make the polling station staff responsible to itself. This is where the problem begins”.

“The political parties have to stop acting as if they were part of the electoral bodies and just take their places as competitors”, he added. “They should let the electoral authorities manage the elections”.

Post published in: Africa News

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