4 June 2019

Mozambique: Poor Voter Registration Confirmed in Maputo City

Maputo — Maputo City registered less than 70 per cent of its potential new electors during the voter registration that ran from 15 April to 30 May.

Announcing the city's results at a Tuesday press conference the Chairperson of the Maputo City Elections Commission, Ana Chemane, said that 80,798 people had registered - which is only 66.97 per cent of the target figure of 120,655.

This is a truly dreadful result. Maputo City should be the easiest place in the country for voter registration. In most Maputo neighbourhoods nobody lives more than a few minutes walk away from the nearest registration post. The city suffered no complicating factors such as the cyclones that hit parts of central and northern Mozambique in March and April.

But throughout the registration period there was precious little sign of mobilisation of potential voters, either by the electoral bodies themselves or by the political parties.

The figures can be made to look better by adding the results of last year's registration, ahead of the 10 October municipal elections. 616,076 citizens registered in the city in 2018. Total registration is thus 696,874 - which is 94.6 per cent of the estimated total potential electorate of 736,731.

The 120,655 people who ought to have registered this year are largely citizens who have reached the electoral age of 18 since the municipal elections. The harsh conclusion to be drawn is that many thousands of young Maputo residents consciously decided not to register, and hence not to vote in the general elections scheduled for 15 October.

The registration was marred in many parts of the country by equipment breakdowns, problems with electricity supplies, and lack of fuel for the mobile registration brigades. But Chemane admitted that these problems had no serious impact in Maputo.

She sid that the electoral registers are now going on public display, giving voters a chance to ensure that their names are indeed on the register and have been entered correctly (citizens can prove that they did indeed register through the voter card that should have been issued at the posts).

All the data from the brigades will then be computerised. Chemane said this will eliminate any cases of people who tried to register more than once.

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