Training of Mozambican voter registration brigades begins

Mozambique’s Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE) on Monday began the training of around 14,000 people from whom voter registration brigades will be recruited.

Voter registration will run from 30 January to 14 April. Registering as a voter is necessary for anyone wishing to cast a vote in the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 15 October.

In most of the country, all voters will need to register, no matter how many times they have registered for previous elections, in order to draw up entirely new electoral registers.

Only in the 53 municipalities, where voters registered ahead of last year’s local elections, will the registration take the form of updating the existing voters’ roll, adding the names of people who turn 18 this year, of those who, for whatever reason, failed to register in 2013, and of those who have changed address.

According to the STAE director of training and voter education, Claudio Langa, of the 14,000 candidates, 12,234 will be selected and will form 4,078 brigades working across the entire country.

“In these training sessions, as well as familiarizing themselves with the electoral legislation, the brigade members will be trained in the computerised registration of voters, and how to relate to members of the public”, said Langa.

He added that STAE is working to avoid any repetition of the problems that beset the brigades at the start of the 2013 municipal voter registration. The initial phase of the 2013 registration was marked by systematic breakdowns in the STAE computers and printers.

“Right now we are testing all the computers to ensure that they are in working order”, said Langa. “We are also testing the printers and other components so that the problems of incompatibility we face in the recent past do not happen again”.

STAE is concerned that the instability in parts of Sofala province, due to attacks and ambushes by gunmen of the former rebel movement Renamo, could compromise voter registration.

Cited by the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”, the Sofala STAE director, Celso Chimoio, said it was up to the National Elections Commission (CNE) to decide whether the registration could take place in the areas affected (swathes of Gorongosa, Maringue, Nhamatanda and Chibabava districts).

“We shall send the registration material to all districts”, said Chimoio. “It will up to the relevant authorities to announce whether the registration can be held in those places”.

About 600,000 potential voters are expected to register in Sofala. 960 brigade members will be working in 320 registration posts.

Post published in: Africa News

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