Maputo — Mozambique's main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, on Tuesday demanded that the National Elections Commission (CNE) immediately place voter registration material in those registration posts which, for whatever reason, are not functioning properly.
The demand came at a meeting in Maputo between senior Renamo officials and CNE chairperson Abdul Carimo.
The head of the Renamo information department, Jose Manteigas, complained that in some parts of the country, the registration posts had not opened even a fortnight after the theoretical start of registration, on 15 April.
This has been the case for example in Montepuez district, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, where six registration brigades in the administrative post of Nairoto had not even begun registering voters in the first 15 days.
"If we look at Zambezia province", he continued, "we have about 105 posts where there were serious irregularities such as the lack of solar panels (to provide electricity) and the lack of other materials to allow the process to take off properly".
In Sofala province, said Manteigas, there were 149 registration posts that had not functioned at all, since 15 April. (Sofala is still reeling from the impact of cyclone Idai, which hit the province on 14 March).
In the neighbouring province of Manica, Manteigas continued, 16 of the 47 registration posts in Sussundenga district were paralysed for lack of materials by 25 April. Renamo also claims that some state officials, together with community leaders, had put tax collection posts on the paths leading to registration posts, presumably to dissuade people from registering.
Manteigas repeated the Renamo demand for the sacking of Felisberto Naife, the general director of the CNE's executive body, the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE).
"We want a STAE that is efficient and collaborates with us because we too, as a political party, want to collaborate so that the voter registration, and the entire electoral process, runs smoothly, so that for the first time we have credible, fair, free and transparent elections", declared Manteigas.
Carimo said he had listened to the Renamo complaints. He said that, not only were the Renamo concerns justified, but they were the same as the CNE's concerns. He noted that Renamo had presented lists of registration posts that had not opened, or were functioning with problems. Renamo was worried, he said, "that many citizens might not be registered and would thus lose their right to vote and to be elected on 15 October".
Carimo urged all those involved in the registration, including the political parties, to help improve the situation.
The latest figures fom STAE, covering the period from 15 April to 5 May, show that at least 2.7 million new voters have registered, which is 36.79 per cent of the target figure of 7.3 million. Carimo believed that, by the end of this week, the registration figure will have reached 40 per cent or more.