Renamo complains of Nampula “irregularities”

Maputo (AIM) – Mozambique’s main opposition party, the rebel movement Renamo, on Friday demanded that the National Elections Commission (CNE) correct alleged irregularities in the preparations for the mayoral by-election in the northern city of Nampula, scheduled for 24 January.

The Renamo election agent, Andre Magibire, claimed there are a range of irregularities in the electoral registers for the by-election, including voters registered at more than one polling station, a polling are without an electoral register, and supposed disparities in the number of registers at the polling stations.

It is certainly possible for citizens to register at multiple polling stations – but the electoral law has safeguards against anyone voting more than once. The most important of these is that when a citizen votes, his or her index finger is dipped in indelible ink. This should make voting a second time impossible, since polling station staff are instructed to inspect all voters’ hands before giving them their ballot papers.

Majibire also alleged that the definitive chart of the Nampula polling stations given to Renamo lacks important information, such as the number of stations in each polling area, as well as the official stamp and signature authenticating the chart. He also complained that the electronic file for one polling area did not open.

“We did detailed work, comparing the registers for 2014 (the date of the last general election), and those for the forthcoming by-election, and we found polling areas that have more registers now than in 2014”, he said.

Thus the polling area at the Napala primary school had eight registers in 2014, but now it has 24.  “This is a huge difference”, said Magibire. “We think these irregularities can be corrected, and that’s why we’re here today”.

The most likely explanation for the Napala school discrepancy is that more classrooms will be used as polling stations this year than was the case in 2014, thus allowing the voters’ roll to be divided into a larger number of registers.

“We know that the time scale is tight”, said Magibire, “but if we work hard, we can overcome many of these problems”. He hoped that these “corrections” could be made before the start of the election campaign on 9 January.

Magibire delivered the Renamo complaint to CNE official Zaida Abdala, who promised that it will be brought to the attention of CNE chairperson Abdul Carimo.

“The CNE will meet and will analyse this”, she said. “All the matters raised will be analysed, and in due time the CNE will announce its decision”.

The by-election was precipitated by the assassination of the mayor of Nampula, Mahamudo Amurane, on 4 October.  Amurane had stood on the ticket of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), but had later fallen out with the MDM leadership in a bitter and very public dispute.

Whoever becomes mayor will have to work with a Municipal Assembly where the MDM still enjoys a majority.

Renamo boycotted the previous municipal elections, in 2013. Up until 2013, the mayor of Nampula had always come from the ruling Frelimo Party.

Post published in: Africa News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *