Maputo — The general secretary of Mozambique's ruling Frelimo Party, Roque Silva, on Monday urged all municipal citizens of voting age to make their way to the voter registration posts which are open across the country for the next 60 days.
Speaking to reporters after he registered in a post set up in a Maputo school and obtained his voter card, Silva declared that voting is “a patriotic duty”.
“It is not enough to receive a voter card”, he said. “Many people receive their voter cards, but at the time of voting, they fail in this patriotic duty”. The whole point of this registration exercise, he stressed, is that it allows citizens to vote in the municipal elections scheduled for 10 October.
Participation in elections, added Silva,, is “a contribution to the consolidation of peace in Mozambique”.
Reports from around the country suggested that registration got off to a reasonably smooth start in most places. But heavy rain in the central province of Sofala delayed the opening of one registration post in Nhamatanda district, and three in Marromeu district.
In the northern city of Nampula, at several posts problems were reported with computers and printers, but according to an AIM correspondent in the city by the late morning these had been solved.
To reduce costs, STAE (Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat), which is running the registration, has resorted to equipment that was used in the 2014 registration, albeit with improved printers and cameras. Inevitably there will be more breakdowns than if brand new equipment had been used.
In the Paquitequete neighbourhood of Pemba, capital of the northern province of Cabo Delgado, at one post registration was paralysed when monitors appointed by the political parties demanded the electoral registers from 2014 - even though the old registers are no longer valid, and are irrelevant to the current exercise which intends to re-register the entire municipal electorate from scratch.
In Quelimane, capital of the central province of Zambezia, the main opposition party, the rebel movement Renamo made the now familiar accusation that the ruling Frelimo Party is committing fraud by bringing people in from other parts of the country to register in Quelimane. Renamo claimed that Frelimo has told people from the neighbouring districts of Nicoadala and Inhassunge that they must register in Quelimane. No evidence was offered for this improbable claim.