Mozambique: Elections Commission Calls for Peaceful Gurue Poll

Maputo — The local election bodies overseeing the rerun elections for mayor and members of the municipal assembly in the municipality of Gurue, in the central Mozambican province of Zambezia, have urged political parties to refrain from actions that might lead to violence.

The chairperson of the Zambezia Provincial Elections Commission, Emilio Mpanda, stressed that only duly accredited monitors, observers and journalists are entitled to stay in the polling stations watching the voting and the count.

Mpanda urged the competing political parties - the ruling Frelimo Party and the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) - and their candidates “to refrain from campaigning on voting day and from inciting their members to resort to violence to solve whatever problems may occur”.

He pointed out that voters who remain in the polling stations after casting their votes are violating the electoral law.

The same point was made by Lucas Jose, press officer of the executive electoral body, the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE).

“If a person has voted, he should leave the polling station immediately, and wait for the results at home”, Jose said. “The presence of people other than the political party monitors, accredited observers and journalists at the polling stations is not allowed”.

STAE is thus anxious to avoid a repetition of the unruly scenes that marred the initial Gurue elections, on 20 November, when crowds of MDM supporters gathered at the polling stations.

STAE has also taken the hitherto unprecedented initiative of using tape to mark the perimeter of the polling stations. Within this area only the people queuing up to vote, and those with credentials (the election staff, monitors, observers and journalists) are allowed.

This should keep out people who have already cast their votes, and any party officials (from either Frelimo or the MDM) who have no credentials.

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