10 May 2018

Mozambique Elections 26 - 8 May - Registration Falling Short

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

With 11 days to go, registration posts open longer and targets cut

With just 11 of 60 days to go, only 69% of possible voters has been registered. To try to encourage registration, posts will be open one or two hours longer, open earlier at 7 am and closing later, after 4 pm

And the 69% is of a reduced number of estimated voting age adults. Registration is only in the districts which have one of the 53 municipalities - about half the country. When registration opened, it was estimated, based on the 2017 national population census, that there were 8.5 million voting age adults in those districts. That number was lowered to 8,063,879 and has now been lowered again to 7,817,887.

The reduction was in Nampula, Zambézia, and Manica provinces, and came about because some districts have been split in two and there is no registration in the new districts without municipalities. This had previously not been taken into account, Election Secretariat (STAE) spokesperson Claudio Langa explained.

One province - Niassa with 48% - and four districts are under 50%. Matola, Mozambique's largest city (44%), Lichinga (43%), Mandimba (32%), and the Ka Pfumo part of Maputo city (41%). The number of voters registered each day is falling, from 103 889 two weeks ago to 100 655 last week.

In Namputo and Dondo our correspondents report that the longer hours are increasing the number of people being registered, but that brigade members are demanding that they be paid more for the overtime.

Equipment problems continue

Problems continue with equipment. This is not surprising, as the registration is being done with equipment left over from the 2013-4 registration and a pilot earlier this year showed those computers were wearing out. As well as longer registration hours, STAE has distributed some new computers and sent out more repair and training teams. But our correspondents continue to report problems.

Mandimba district, EPC (primary school) de Ngame, registration interrupted on 1 May because the laptop computer overheated. Laptop overheating also stopped registration at EP de Nataleia, Malema district, on 4 May.

Nampula city, Pavilhão dos Desportos do Clube Ferroviário, registration stopped on 6 May due to computer problems.

Nhamatanda district, posts at EP1 Jossias Tongogara, EP Heróis Moçambicanos, EP 3 de Fevereiro all had equipment problems which were serious enough that people stopped waiting in queues and went home. .

Mandimba district, posts at EPC de Filipe Magaia, Escola Secundária Samora Machel e EPC de Ngame, no bairro Nyerere, lost electricity on 6 May and the back-up batteries were inadequate and registration stopped.
Milange District, at EPC Mambucha the brigade ran out of registration forms and fuel for their generator, halting registration on 2 May. There was a similar problem in Monapo.

Angoche, EPC Eduardo Mondlane, one or more cards were issued with only partial numbers, not including the number of the registration book.
Nhamayabwe (Mutarara), EPC de Mapulango, equipment was stolen on 30 April, but most of the equipment was dumped at the house of the local chief and only the battery and transformer was stolen.

MDM has accused STAE of impeding registration in Incidua and Sangarriveira, two populous Quelimane neighbourhoods that are MDM strongholds, by not sending full registration brigades. Listano Evaristo of Quelimane MDM claims that there was only one registration brigade member in Incidua, registering only 30 people per day.
Our correspondent also reported a short team in Ngame, Mandimba.

Widespread Frelimo parallel registration

In several parts of the country Frelimo is carrying out a parallel registration and in some cases forcing people to register with them as well. In one neighbourhood of Chibuto, Gaza, Frelimo was collecting voters cards. In Inhambane city, the provincial government secretariat was collecting cards from everyone in the local office of the audit court (Autoridade Tributária) on 2 May. In nearby Maxixe, teachers are being required to sign the Frelimo registration form.

Arrests for improper registration

Quelimane, 3 citizens arrested on 6 May for trying to register twice.
Pemba, 2 people stopped from registering with other people's id cards. Bilene, 1 person stopped from registering with someone else's id.
Monapo, 8 people from other districts stopped from registering.

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