Mozambique: Registration Manipulation Gives Nyusi 370,000 Extra Votes?

Mozambique elections (file photo).

Manipulation of the registration process could give Frelimo candidate Filipe Nyusi up to 370,000 extra votes - 6% of the expected total vote - according to Bulletin calculations. Alternatively, electoral authorities have exposed a massive error in the 2017 population census, showing that the census takers in Gaza missed more than one-third of voting age adults.

The 2017 national population census showed that 47% of Mozambique's population is over 18 years old, and thus of voting age. But in setting up the registration this year, electoral authorities said that in Gaza 80% of the population were adults, while in Zambezia only 41% of the people are adults. Previously, no one had noticed that Gaza parents had so many fewer children than those in Zambezia.

Based on its highly unusual estimate of the distribution of the nation's children and adults, the election technical secretariat (STAE) sent extra registration brigades into Maputo and Gaza, and fewer to Zambezia. And it found huge numbers of voting age adults that had been missed by the census. In Gaza 161% of voting age adults identified by the census were registered. This means the population census had missed more than 450,000 people in Gaza, an extraordinarily high error rate.

But no one has reported huge errors in the population census. And UN agencies have never pointed to Gaza as having the lowest rate of children in the world. So we can only conclude that STAE and the National Elections Commission have manipulated the registration data.

Therefore we have looked at the impact of the manipulation. As a test, we applied 2014 provincial voting percentages and turnout in the presidential election to two different sets of registration figures. The first is the official registration figures announced last week. The second is the registration figures based on the 2017 census. The table in the attached pdf version of this bulletin shows the differences.

We find that the official STAE figures would give Frelimo candidate Filipe Nyusi fewer votes across the north, but a massive increase in Gaza and Maputo city and province. In Gaza alone Nyusi gains 307,000 votes (which come from the huge number of people supposedly missed by the 2017 population census). Our full estimation method is explained on here.

A presidential candidate must have a majority of votes to win. The opposition is fragmented and Renamo is relatively weak. Thus the biggest danger for Nyusi is that he gains the largest vote but less than half, forcing a second round. To have more than 300,000 extra votes would be an important insurance policy against a second round.

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