Mozambique: Frelimo Wins in Tete, Renamo Contests

Polling station.

Maputo — The Tete District Elections Commission (CDE) in western Mozambique on Saturday declared that the ruling Frelimo Party has won the election for the Tete Municipal Assembly, held on Wednesday - but the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, is rejecting this as fraudulent.

The CDE result gives Frelimo 54 per cent to 43 per cent for Renamo. The Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) came a poor third with 2.5 per cent.

The detailed results for the three parties were as follows:

Frelimo: 41,445 (54.48 per cent)

Renamo: 32,749 (43.22 per cent)

MDM: 1,895 (2.49 per cent).

79,356 people cast ballots in Tete, which was a turnout of 59.6 per cent.

The Municipal Assembly will consist of 22 Frelimo members, 17 from Renamo and one from the MDM.

The head of the Frelimo list of candidates, Cesar de Carvalho, will become mayor of Tete. He is no stranger to this position. He was mayor form 2004 to 2013, but when he ended his second term, he was facing corruption accusations. In 2013 the Central Office for the Fight Against Corruption (GCCC) charged him with abuse of office and making false statements.

The charges arose out of dispatches supposedly signed by the mayor, in which he granted himself 12 plots of land. During the preliminary investigation, Carvalho denied holding land titles to any of these plots. The case was postponed sine die due to what were described as "procedural issues", and so the matter has never been resolved.

Renamo and the MDM boycotted the ceremony where the chairperson of the CDE, Leonardo Mouzinho, read out the results.

On Friday, Renamo had announced its own count of the polling station results sheets, claiming that, in reality, it had won. The Renamo count gave it 53.42 per cent of the vote to 43.7 per cent for Frelimo and 2.4 per cent for the MDM.

This scenario is similar to that in the southern city of Matola, where Renamo announced its victory on Friday, but the following day the official results conferred victory on Frelimo - although the margin of the Frelimo victory in Matola was much narrower than in Tete.

In both cities, if Renamo is serious about its claim, then it should publish on a website the results sheets ("editais") that its monitors collected from all the polling stations. Then the Renamo copies can be compared against those held by the CDE, by Frelimo, and by any observers.

The Tete result is "intermediate" - that is, it still needs to be confirmed by the National Elections Commission (CNE), and validated by the Constitutional Council, the highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law.

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