11 October 2018

Mozambique: Few Afternoon Voters and General Calm, But Also Gunfire

Photo: L Matias/Deutsche Welle
Renamo supporters (file photo).

Few afternoon voters and general calm, but also gunfire

After the large turnout and long queues this morning, hardly anyone voted this afternoon. Only three correspondents reported long queues continuing into the afternoon, in Marromeu, Lichinga and Nhamayabue. Closing of polling stations at 18.00 was largely orderly.

Where people are still in the queue at 18.00, they are given numbered tickets and allowed to vote. Our correspondents report this happened in Maxixe, Gondola and in Baue, Nhamayabue, where there have been problems with register books.

In Gurué which was won by MDM in a re-run election after a proven fraud by electoral officials in 2013 there have been repeated rumours that the electricity would be cut to allow changing of ballot boxes or ballot papers. Indeed, electricity was cut at 18.00, and MDM "shock groups" locked many polling stations from outside to prevent fraud. Electricity was restored in 20 minutes. But at 19.00 police fired gunshots and tear gas outside Gurué secondary school; counting stopped but soon resumed.

At 19.00 it was reported that police and large crowds were gathering in Benfica, Quelimane.

Police gunfire and interventions

Police were called to intervene where a group of people with voters cards were not on the register book and rioted when they were not allowed to vote. The incident occurred at at Maenda school, Nhamayabue, Tete. Police were called and shot into the air to disperse angry would-be voters.

Voters are supposed to leave the area of a polling station after they have voted, but in Jembesse, Ilha de Moçambique, police shot into the air to disperse people near the polling stations.

At centro emissor, Samora Machel neighbourhood, Dondo, there was a conflict with a group from nearby Mafambisse who tried to vote. The MDM delegate tried to block their entry into the polling station. The police were called and fired into the air to disperse the crowd.

Police are dispersing a crowd in Nacala. Tear gas was used in Lichinga.

Register book problems known yesterday

It is now clear that problems with register books were known yesterday. In response to a request from Renamo, the Angoche district elections commission issued an instruction yesterday (9 October) that people with voters cards could vote, even if they were not on the register list. But this did not occur elsewhere, and people could not vote in Nhamayabue, Tete, in Escola primária de Maenda in Baue and Maenda school (where police had to intervene). There were similar register problems in Escola Secundária de Kongolote and Escola Primária Completa 1º de Maio in Matola

Arrest and release

A third polling station member has been arrested for alleged fraud. This time in Marromeau at 4 October primary school, a polling station staff member was caught by party delegates with 10 blank ballot papers. and was arrested by police.

In Nacala Porto police intervened to negotiate the release of the two elderly people kidnapped by Renamo as alleged improper voters. The half hour negotiation was between the local police commander and party agent Gildo Muquera.

Renamo claims that police arrested Renamo and MDM delegates in polling station 5 of 7 de Abril primary school in no Nhamaiabwe neighbourhood, Dondo. Renamo says three delegates were taken by the police from polling stations in chá oriental primary school, Gurué. The electoral law prohibits arrest of party delegates on polling day.

In Chidengue, Ulónguè, Tete, after 18.00 there was a confrontation with people demanding to watch the vote count. This led to the arrest of two Renamo members, claimed to be inciting the confrontation.

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