Voter registration delayed to accommodate RENAMO

The Mozambican government has postponed this year’s voter registration by a fortnight, in order to facilitate participation by the former rebel movement Renamo.

The registration was to have begun on Thursday, lasting 75 days, until 14 April. But at an extraordinary session on Wednesday the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) decreed a delay of more than two weeks, so that the registration will now begin on 15 February and end on 29 April.

The statement from the Council of Ministers announcing the delay said this was at the express request of Renamo “in the context of the dialogue under way between the government and Renamo so that this party may better prepare itself to participate in the 2014 presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections”.

It added that the government “in the framework of promoting the spirit of peace, reconciliation, national unity and multi-party democracy agreed with the Renamo request”.

After boycotting talks with the government for three months, the Renamo delegation, headed by senior parliamentarian Saimone Macuiana, returned to the dialogue table on Monday. The government statement implies that it was during this meeting that Renamo requested that the start of voter registration be postponed.

The request seems to have taken at least some people in the Renamo leadership by surprise. Interviewed by the independent newsheet “Mediafax”, Renamo general secretary Manuel Bissopo refused to confirm or deny that Renamo had made such a request.

“It is difficult to confirm whether the postponement results from a Renamo request or not”, he said. “As general secretary I never submitted any request of this sort”.

However, he admitted that “bearing in mind the consensus being achieved in the government and dialogue, it is possible that this is where the request came from”.

It is not yet clear whether there is any quid pro quo – particularly whether Renamo will now halt its ambushes and other military attacks in Sofala province.

Renamo boycotted last November’s municipal elections, because it was demanding changes in the composition of the National Elections Commission. It now seems prepared to take part in the 15 October general elections, regardless of whether there are any changes in the electoral law.

Post published in: Africa News

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