5 July 2017

Mozambique: Row Over Quelimane Elections Commission Chairman

Maputo — A dispute has broken out in the central Mozambican city of Quelimane over whether the man chosen to chair the Quelimane district elections commission has lied about his credentials.

The 15 members of the election commission on Monday appointed Zacarias Muheia as chairperson, in the belief that he represented a bona fide civil society organization, namely the Zambezia Association of Transporters (ATZ).

But the ATZ chairperson, Santos Ataide, cited by the independent television station STV, said he had never heard of Muheia, and he was not even a member of ATZ, much less its choice to sit on the election commission.

“As chairperson of the transport operators' association, I do not know the figure of Zacarias Muheia”, said Ataide. “I've never seen him at any meetings, and his name cannot be found in the lists of members of the association”.

Ataide said Muheia should be sued for using falsely the name of the association, in order to secure a position on the elections commission.

All district and city elections commissions consist of 15 members. Six are appointed by the political parties represented in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic - three by the ruling Frelimo Party, two by the rebel movement Renamo, and one by the Mozambique Democratic Movement. The other nine members must be proposed by genuine civil society organisations, and the commission must appoint one of the civil society representatives as its chairperson.

To date none of the political parties have reacted to the chairperson of the commission being spurned by the body that is supposed to have proposed him.

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