Mozambique: Nampula Victory Surprised Both Sides

Photo: New Times
A voter shows his thumbs with ink after voting (file photo).

Neither side expected the Renamo victory in Nampula. On 13 March, the day before election day, Afonso Dhlakama accused Frelimo of "gross violation" and of transporting large numbers of illegal voters, even from Cabo Delgado 150 km away and Maputo 1500 km away. He threatened to abandon the negotiations with President Nyusi if the fraud was carried out. (Voice of America 13 Mar; O Pais 14 Mar) Clearly he assumed Renamo would lose.

And the state television station TVM had planned an analysis programme for the evening of polling day on the assumption of a Frelimo victory. When the Renamo victory became clear, the pundits were sent home and a Mexican telenovela was broadcast instead. (CanalMoz 15 Mar)

The Frelimo central committee is meeting this weekend. A key item on the agenda is approval of a plan for upcoming elections, which after the Nampula defeat is likely to be hotly debated.

It is suggested that the Catholic radio station in Nampula, Radio Encontro, was jammed just before the election. For three days the frequency was taken over by music broadcasts.

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