11 January 2018

Mozambique: Nampula Election - Catholic Church Protests

Maputo — The Catholic church in the northern Mozambican city of Nampula has protested angrily because somebody stuck election propaganda for the ruling Frelimo Party on the wall and gate of the residence of the Archbishop of Nampula.

According to a report in Thursday's issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, the Nampula Archdiocese sent a letter of protest to Agostinho Chelua, the Frelimo Nampula provincial first secretary, demanding that the propaganda be removed and the wall repainted.

The incident happened shortly after the start of the official campaign for the mayoral by-election campaign in Nampula, and the propaganda was in support of the Frelimo candidate. Amisse Cololo.

In its letter, the Archdiocese stressed that it is a religious institution, with no political party affiliation, and so it made no sense to use its installations for party propaganda.

The Frelimo Central Committee Secretary for Mobilisation and Propaganda, Caifadine Manasse, recognised that the complaint from the Archdiocese is legitimate. He blamed the flyposting on religious premises on an excess of political zeal, brought about by the festive atmosphere of the campaign. He was sure that Frelimo and he Catholic Church would overcome this “small incident”.

From the first two days of the election campaign, this was the only incident worthy of note. There have been no violent clashes, and the parades of rival parties have crossed paths without any confrontations.

Meanwhile, a dispute over the electoral registers seems to have been solved with the personal intervention of the chairperson of the National Elections Commission (CNE), Abdul Carimo.

The main opposition party, the rebel movement Renamo, had protested that the registers for the by-election are not the same as those used in Nampula during the 2014 general election - yet they should be exactly the same, since there has been no new voter registration since 2014.

For reasons that are far from clear, the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), the executive body of the CNE, issued new registers last month, and both Renamo and the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), complained that they were inaccurate.

To make matters more confusing, the Renamo and MDM complaints were incompatible. Thus Renamo said the polling centre in the Namapa primary school has 16 voter registers more than in 2014, but the MDM said it has 12 registers fewer.

Carimo simply ordered the scrapping of the new registers and a return to the 2014 documents, a solution that appears to satisfy everybody.


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