Mozambique: Nyusi headed for victory in chaotic election

Felipe Nyusi, president of Mozambique, casts his vote Oct. 15 in Maputo.(Associated Press)

By Arnaldo Cuamba

On Tuesday 15 October, Mozambique organized its general elections to choose the President of the Republic, provincial governors and deputies to the Assembly of the Republic. In general, the process started at the scheduled time, 7 a.m., and had a satisfactory participation of voters.

Of the 20,570 polling stations, including abroad, only 7 did not open in Cabo Delgado, namely in the Districts of Macomia, Muidumbe and Mocímboa da Praia. The situation has to do with the lack of security due to the extremist attacks that have terrorized the province since October 2017.

Young people and adults voted en masse making these the elections with the most participation since the first democratic ones in 1999. Initial reports suggest a turnout of about 50%. The independent observers point out that the candidate for his own succession in the presidency of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi, dominates in the percentages with 70%. In second place is the leader of Renamo, Ossufo Momade (21%) and in third place is Daviz Simango, leader of the Democratic Movement of Mozambique with 7%.

In relation to the election of provincial governors and the assembly of the republic there are still no significant data. There is also no concrete date for the release of the data. The National Election Commission (CNE) will not announce partial results during the counting process as it has done in the past, CNE head Sheikh Abdul Carimo has told newspaper Canal de Mocambique in an interview published on wednesday. In the 2014 elections, the CNE called press conferences every few hours in the days following the vote, to read out results as they came in. This time they have decided against, Carimo says, because it “can create various negative interpretations.”

A shameful election

One of the important agents for the supervision of free, fair and transparent elections is the electoral observer. The truth is that 2,915 Mozambican observers were not accredited, although their applications were submitted more than a month ago to the electoral bodies. Many analysts believe that the act was deliberate in order to allow the fraud to occur.

The election night was marked by violence in the centre and north of the country. There was one death. A person was killed, shot and beaten by the police, and four people were shot in the lower limbs as police tried to disperse the crowd at Sao Vicente de Paulo Secondary School, Nacala-Porto, Nampula, province.

The election was also marked by situations of illegal ballot stuffing. Those who were captured brought with them ballots already marked in favour of the Frelimo party. There were also accusations of people who often voted for Filipe Nyusi and his party in an act sponsored by the electoral authorities.

Of the few independent observers who were accredited, those who dared to question illegal attitudes were arrested by the Mozambican police. These reports and more were brought from the central and northern parts of the country where Renamo carries a lot of weight.

“Frelimo’s level of fraud and misconduct was widespread and significantly higher than in previous elections and may have contributed to the qualified majority,” said the Center for Public Integrity, an independent organization that observed the elections.

Renamo boycott the counting

Renamo is boycotting all district vote tabulations, and has ordered its people not to participate in any way in those counts. The boycott was confirmed by an authorized Renamo source but there will be no public statement. MDM will continue to participate in the district counts, but may refuse to sign the district results sheets.

On Tuesday, speaking after voting in his homeland on the Island of Mozambique, Nampula Province, Northern Mozambique, Ossufo Momade, said he “will never” accept “rigged election results,” pointing out that the denial of popular will has led the country to military hostilities in the past.

“If these are manipulated results, we can never accept [them] and we are determined to do anything whatsoever that the people indicates,” said Ossufo Momade, when asked by journalists, whether he will accept a possible defeat in wednesday’s general elections across the country.

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