Nine registration posts are opening in Gorongosa district under the protection of the Renamo military, with no Mozambican police presence, the National Elections Commission confirmed at a press conference this morning (Thursday 24).
This follows an agreement last night between Renamo and the government, which will also permit the registration of Renamo president Afonso Dhlakama and of Renamo soldiers.
This also confirms the very unusual position of Renamo, which is the main opposition party in parliament and is participating in the electoral process, while having an armed force which controls part of a district and will only allow registration if there are no government police present.
The nine registration posts in Gorongosa district, Sofala, had never opened because of on-going fighting between Renamo and the government.
CNE spokesman Paulo Cuinica this morning said members of the National Elections Commission (in pairs of Renamo and Frelimo) are today going to Sofala to go with the registration teams, and that they would not be accompanied by members of the Mozambican police (PRM).
The nine registration brigades will be in Casa Banana, Vunduzi, Nhataca, Chionde, Tsikiri, Mussikazi, Piro and Mukodza. Cuinica also confirmed that the brigades would not stay overnight in these places, but would return to more secure areas each night.
Cuinica also confirmed that Renamo had made a request to delay the end of registration, now scheduled for Tuesday 29 April. Renamo alleges that there are regions where registration started late because of rains and others where there were constant breakdowns of equipment including generators and computers. Cuinca said that CNE and STAE had reinforced the capacity of brigades in problem locations and thus there was no need to an extension, but the request is being considered by the CNE. Any delay of more than a few days would create serious problems, because registration data is needed for subsequent processes, including party selection of candidates.
With just 6 days to go, registration under 78%
CNE announced this morning that 6,424,570 voters have been registered this year in Mozambique, 70.3% of the 9,143,923 unregistered voting age adults. Registration ends on Tuesday 29 April.
To this must be added the 3,059,804 voters registered last year for 2013 local elections, who need not register again. Thus total registration is 9,484,374, which is 77,7% of the estimated 12,203,727 people who will be over 18 years old on voting day, 15 October.
For the 2009 election, registration was over 90%.