Maputo — Observers in the central Mozambican province of Zambezia have accused the provincial branch of the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE) of lying about the alleged success of voter registration in the province.
On 13 May, STAE-Zambezia claimed "Of the 809 registration brigades in the province of Zambezia, covering 1,144 registration posts, all of them are operating in full, corresponding to 100% operability.
But the "Mozambique Political Process Bulletin" (published by the anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity, CIP) has correspondents throughout the province who found that the claim was untrue.
Despite the STAE claims that hardware and software are "functioning perfectly", in reality some of the posts have never opened since registration began on 15 April, reported the "Bulletin".
Thus in Gurue district, a post at the Montes Namuli school closed for more than a week, and since Wednesday the post at the Contape school has been closed because of battery problems. At the Nipeve school, the post had never opened for lack of material.
In Milange district, one post (at the Mbessa school) was closed for the past ten days because its printer was not working. Another Milange post, at Chitambo, never opened - the computer was faulty. STAE technicians removed it for repair and never brought it back.
Similar problems are reported from Gile, Nicoadala, Maganja da Costa, Morumbala, Inhassunge and Mocuba districts.
Even in the provincial capital, Quelimane, two posts were closed for five days because of equipment failures.
But despite these problems, Zambezia had registered 56 per cent of its target by 12 May, which is above the national average.
Some Zambezia districts have exceeded their target. They are Quelimane (103%), Maganja da Costa (102%), Milange (100%), Mocuba (100%), and Mocubela (218%). This will raise eyebrows: how could STAE, basing its work on the 2017 population census, possible have got its estimate of potential voters in Mocubela so wrong?
The northern province of Niassa is lagging behind, and had only met 41 per cent of its target by 12 May. The STAE head of operations in the Niassa district of Sanga, Alexandre Jalane, admitted that there was not enough registration equipment in the district, and so five registration posts were forced to close.