Maputo — The Malawian authorities have banned the voter registration of Mozambicans living in Malawi.
Malawi is one of nine countries where Mozambicans living in the diaspora are entitled to vote in Mozambican general elections.
Registration in Malawi, as in the eight other countries, began on 1 May and is scheduled to end on 30 May. But, with no prior warning, last week the Malawian authorities interrupted the registration and decreed that it can only resume after Malawi's own elections, due to be held on Tuesday.
"The decision is, to some extent, embarrassing", admitted the Mozambican High Commissioner to Malawi, Jorge Gune, cited by Radio Mozambique.
But he downplayed the problem, even regarding it as "very normal, since the two electoral processes are overlapping. The Malawians consider Tuesday's elections as the most contested since the introduction of a multi-party system in Malawi".
"The decision is normal and peaceful, bearing in mind that the Malawian authorities intend to control their process", said Gune.
The challenge now, he said, was to "redouble our efforts in the remaining period, so that we can manage to meet the targets".
According to the statistics issued by the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), the total number of Mozambicans of voting age living in Malawi is 11,408. Between 1 and 12 May, 1,262 of them had registered as voters.
Mozambicans living abroad have been entitled to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections since 2004. Two of the 250 seats in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, are reserved for diaspora voters.