Maputo — With just 11 days to go before the end of voter registration ahead of Mozambique's municipal elections, scheduled for 10 October, less than 70 per cent of the estimated electorate has registered, according to the latest figures, released by the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE) on Tuesday.
The size of the total electorate in the districts that contain municipalities has been revised downwards. This is because the National Statistics Institute (INE) is still working on the data from the last population census, held in August 2017, and has adjusted the figures for Nampula, Zambezia and Manica provinces. The INE says it will announce adjusted figures for Maputo province later this week.
The result is that the estimated potential electorate in the districts with municipalities has fallen from 8,063,892 to 7,817,887. But even this reduction of the potential electorate by almost quarter of a million does not make the voter registration figures look good.
By 6 May, according to the figures presented by STAE, 5,366,385 citizens had registered - which is 68.6 per cent of the revised target. But by now STAE ought to have registered 81.7 per cent. At this rate it will be impossible to reach the target by the close of registration on 17 May.
Some provinces are doing much better than others. The northern province of Cabo Delgado has registered 92.74 per cent of its target. Other provinces that give little ground for concern are Gaza and Inhambane in the south (85.77 and 81.2 per cent).
The largest province, Nampula in the north (74.23 per cent) is not far behind target, and nor are two of the four central provinces - Sofala (75.51 per cent), and Manica (72.52 per cent). The other two central provinces - Zambezia (70.07 per cent) and Tete (69.7 per cent) - have a lot of catching up to do.
But the most serious problems are in Niassa in the far north, where only 47.66 per cent of the target have registered, and in Maputo province and city in the south (51.2 and 56.34 per cent).
Looking at the districts, four have reached more than 100 per cent of their target. They are Chiure in Cabo Delgado (107.11 per cent), Vilankulo in Inhambane (108.93 per cent), and Xai-Xai and Chokwe in Gaza (102.71 and 109.84 per cent).
At the other end of the scale, Mandimba, in Niassa, has only registered 31.88 per cent of its potential electorate. In the centre of Maputo city, Kampfumo urban district has only registered 41.6 per cent of its target - even though this is the richest and most literate district in the country.
Matola, the capital of Maputo province, has only registered 44.45 per cent of its estimated electorate - a much lower figure than any of the three more rural municipalities in the province.
Fearing a last minute rush to the registration posts, STAE has announced that in the last ten days the posts will be open an extra two hours - ten hours instead of eight hours a day. Each province will decide whether those hours will be added in the morning (opening the posts at 06.00 rather than 08.00) or in the evening (closing at 18.00 instead of 16.00).
In addition extra computers will be allocated to some registration posts in Niassa, Maputo and Zambezia.