26 April 2018

Mozambique: Despite Low Turnout, CNE Won't Extend registration

Photo: Capital FM
(File photo).

STAE must register 51% of its target in the next 3 1/2 weeks, having registered on 49% in 5 weeks. Nevertheless, National Elections Commission (CNE) president Sheik Abdul Carimo Sal said today that there could be no extension of the registration period, which closes 17 May. In past elections, more than 90% of voting age adults have registered - in part to obtain a voters card as an identity document. Some cities are particularly low, including Lichinga (28%), Quelimane (32%), Matola (33%) Nampula (43%) and Maputo (43%).

The Election Secretariat (Secretariado Tecnico de Administracao Eleitoral, STAE) is worried about the low registration and promises to take action. Electricity has been a problem and STAE spokesperson Claudio Langa said that last week 250 solar panels had been distributed and another 300 would be distributed in rural areas this week.

For the first time, provincial registration numbers have been posted on the STAE website:  District and provincial totals are on the CIP website:

No restrictions on dress

Some registration brigades in Maputo and Matola refused to register women whose shoulders were uncovered, causing an outcry on Facebook.  Langa this morning described this as an "excess of zeal" and said brigades have been told not to not turn away potential voters merely because they are wearing T-shirts, shorts or flip-flops.

Will on-going problems make it impossible to hit target?

During the fifth week, 821,355 voters were registered, 10% of the target, which means to meet 90% of the target, STAE will have to register 950,000 citizens per week in the remaining 3 1/2 weeks. Yet this comes at a time when registration continues to be dogged by problems:

Monapo: no fuel, forms
In Monapo district at Eduardo Mondlane and 3 de Fevereiro in Itoculo, registration posts have been closed since Saturday because they ran out of registration forms. At Nahoro, Itoculo, registration has been halted since Sunday due to a lack of fuel for generators to provide electricity to the computer and printer.

Montepuez: delayed start
In some villages in Montepuez district, Cabo Delgado, registration has not started because roads were made impassable the rainy season. STAE says it will still reach the villages of Luzaca, Ntola and Xixano.

Equipment problems
Our correspondents in Maputo, Chibuto, Milange and Mueda report on-going equipment problems. For example in Milange in the neighbourhoods of Maputo, Cimento and Ntandedi, registration has been halted at various times because of printers and computers not working. But STAE Mueda director Agostinho Andre says the frequency of breakdowns has been reduced.

Slow processing
In Milange at Tengua primary school the time to obtain a voters card is 8-10 minutes, triple what it should be, because registration staff are slow inputting data.

There are similar problems in Malema at primary schools in Riane, Muralelo and Nioce. Potential voters arrived to find that the registration posts had closed early, or gave up queuing because it was taking so long to issue cards.

Demand for food subsidy
In some parts of Maputo City, for example Nwaxitsene, registration brigades are starting work only after 9 am and closing before 3 pm, and taking up to 15 minutes to issue a card. They say they cannot work hard because they are hungry, and are demanding a food subsidy, which they claim is being paid in other cities, such as neighbouring Matola.

Other incidents

9 arrests for fake ID

Nine people have been arrested in Sofala accused of using false identity documents to register. The cases are in Beira, Dondo, Nhamatanda, Gorongosa and Marromeu, according to Sofala STAE director Jorque Donquene.

Frelimo & city council collecting voters cards

In Chibuto, Gaza, in Unidade 2 of Bairro Chimundo, four city council workers and a Frelimo member of parliament, Arminda Ombe have been collecting voters cards from people who registered. Our correspondent estimated that at least 60 cards were collected. Augusto Justino Mate, Unidade 2 secretary, said that the cards were being collected on instructions of the Frelimo district first secretary, apparently as part of a parallel registration.

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