22 April 2019

Mozambique: Registration still has not started in many places

Photo: William Mapote/VOA
New Renamo President Ossufo Momade.

One week after the official start of registration, our correspondents report that people are unable to register at many posts. Some posts have never opened, while others closed in the first three days. Problems remain with registration kit failures, lack of electricity or batteries, and the cyclone, Registration runs for 6 weeks, which still leaves time to solve problems. But would-be voters are arriving at registration posts, only to be turned away.

Coping with cyclone damage

In cyclone affected areas of the centre of the country, the technical secretariat STAE is moving to open the last registration posts. Sofala provincial director Jorge Donquene said that 246 temporary structures are being built where schools have been destroyed or are being used as accommodation centres. The structures cost $100 each.
For example in Mafambisse, Dondo, in Magaia secondary school all the rooms are occupied because the local primary school was destroyed and pupils are using classrooms of the secondary school, leaving no space for registration. STAE says it may try to move the registration post, but nothing has been said so people are still arriving to try and register.
Cyclone affected zones also continue to face problems of lack of electricity, registration equipment failures, and roads in very bad condition.

No electricity and weak batteries

Mozambique's electricity grid now reaches all districts, but often only the main district town. In more rural places registration teams depend on solar panels, generators, or batteries that can be recharged somewhere overnight. Registration is done with a portable kit, known as a "mobile ID", containing computer, camera, fingerprint reader, and printer, and which can run on batteries - if they can be charged.
In Machaze (Manica), 20 solar panel kits were delivered on Friday (19 April). STAE district director Zacarias Mandimba said the panels would resolve the problems of charging registration kit batteries in the district. But it appears that not all districts are receiving enough solar panels.

Solar panels on their own are not solving the problem. In Niassa province:


in Muembe district at Mussafa primary school registration started and then stopped because of inability to charge batteries, but resumed Friday when solar panels and accumulators were delivered.
But in Mecula district registration has not started in Matondovela and at Chamba primary school because solar panels could not be linked properly to charge the batteries.
In Macanhelas district solar panels were not able to supply power to the registration kits in Momade, Manhunha Montanha and Ritande.
In Mandimba district, in Naucheche, Congerenge and Lissiete batteries are unable to hold a charge and would-be voters are being sent home. Local STAE lays new batteries are being tested, but the administrative post is 165 km from the district centre with no roads.

In Inhambane, the Morrumbene district STAE director said that registration at some posts was regularly stopped so that the batteries could be taken to someplace to be charged, either nearby or taken to STAE district headquarters. At Mahoche. primary school registration had stopped.
In Homoine district the registration post a Maxamale primary school stopped work on Tuesday because the battery charge only lasts one day. The post supervisor said district STAE had been informed, but up to Saturday work had not resumed.

In Zambezia province, in Ecole, 40km from the district town of Alto Molocue, registration still had not started on Friday, due to the lack of electricity. In the same district, the post at Cololo primary school was not working.

At Sapinda primary school in Morrumbala, registration was halted for two days due to inability to charge batteries.
At Mucarara primary school in Gile, 33 people could not be registered Friday because the batteries ran out.

Inability to charge batteries meant that registration posts had not opened by Friday in Zimuala, Machanga, Sofala. In Mecula district In Nkalai, Mutarara, Tete the generator was not working so the post has not opened. In Nacala-a-Velha, Nampula, the registration post at Nizai stopped work on Wednesdsay when the battery ran out of power.

Equipment failures also halt registration

The "mobile ID" registration kit is nice when it works, but some of the equipment is old, dating from the 2014 election, and there are widespread reports from our correspondents of breakdowns:
In Nicoladala (Zambezia) at Dugudiwa primary school the registration equipment broke down and has not operated for three days.

In Nampula province in Iuluti in Mogovolas, at 25 de Junho primary school the process has been stopped since the first day due to what was described as a "configuration failure of the mobile ID". Also in Iuluti at Marrupeio primary school the printer does not work; people are being registered but told to return later to collect their card.
In Nacarôa district at Nahage primary school, only a 35 km from Nacarôa town, registration has not started because the mobile ID cannot be made to work.
In Mecuburi at both Tonhane and Rapamila primary school, registration started but has been halted for four days because of computer problems.
In Muecate registration at Mucocola primary school stopped due to mobile ID problems.
In Mossuril at Chivavela, registration cards are not being printed.

In Gaza at the 5th bairro primary school in Macia, the mobile ID stopped working Friday.
In Xai Xai at 24 de Julho primary school, just 1 km from STAE headquarters, the registration post has never opened because it did not receive registration materials, and the brigade is sitting waiting and turning away those who come to register.

STAE has technicians to respond to computer problems but even in urban areas they have not been able to cope. In Matola (Maputo province) registration did not start at Matlemele secondary school and Zona Verde primary school due to the mobile ID not working. On Friday breakdowns halted registration at EPC (primary school) Samora Machel, Ndlavela and EPC Bunhica.
Also in Maputo Province, ni Boane at EPC Massaca the system is working but is very slow, taking 15 minutes to issue each voters card.
In Moamba, at EP1 de Checua in Pessene and EPC 25 de Setembro in Moamba town, and also in Manhica at EPC de Chicunguluine, 3 de Fevereiro, the printers have never worked.
In Magude, at EPC de Chalate the mobile ID stopped working Tuesday and registration has not resumed.

In Maputo city in Maxaquene “A” at Noroeste 1 secondary school registration never started because the software had not been installed in the computer. STAE technicians only arrived Friday morning. And at EPC Mikadjuine the brigade lacks uniform or identification, but is working.

In Inhambane the Govuro district STAE deputy director Mario Eduardo Matsena admitted that in two places the mobile IDs broke down on the first day and registration has been halted since then. This is at EP2 da vila Franca de Save and at Jofane.
In Zavala, at EP2 de Daiacambe in Quissico the mobile ID broke down Monday but was repaired on Wednesday and registration resumed.
In Panda at Massalane, registration stopped when the printer stopped on Tuesday.

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