22 April 2014

Mozambique: Police Arrest Opposition Members Collecting Signatures

Photo: Guy Oliver/IRIN
Election posters in the Sofala province town of Gorongosa.

At least 14 members of the second largest opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), were arrested by the National Mozambican Police (PRM) for collecting signatures in support of Daviz Simango's presidential candidacy.

According to MDM spokesman Sande Carmona, the arrests occurred in at least six locations, including cities, towns, and districts, namely Beira, Quelimane, Chimoio, Marromeu, Alto Molocue, and Lago. To justify the arrests, the PRM alleges that it is not yet the "right time" to collect signatures.

It is known, however, that under deliberation 1/CC/2014, of 20 February, the Constitutional Council - a body in charge of verifying the legal requirements for the election of the next president, among other matters -set the period of 24 February to 21 July for the submission of party and their candidates'! candidacies.

Notary services demand the presence of the proponents for document verification, ignoring the fact that the law does not stipulate any such demand. Last week, the MDM informed the media about police obstruction and of the difficulties created by the notary services in signature verification.

Carmona pointed the finger at the ruling the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) as being behind the police's act of bad faith. "Some people are in custody, especially in districts and district capitals, and as of 18 April there were 14 people in custody throughout the country."

When submitting signatures it is necessary to submit the candidate's identity file, an updated voter card, a complete narrative certificate, an original nationality certificate issued by the Central Registration Office, a criminal record certificate, a candidacy and eligibility acceptance declaration, a passport-type colour photograph, the candidate's election symbol, a document! naming the candidate's representative, their file, as well as the file of the proponents with the candidate's photograph. At least 10,000 signatures, but no more than 20,000, are also required.

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