Maputo — Mozambique's National Statistics Institute (INE) on Thursday confirmed that the National Elections Commission (CNE) has wildly exaggerated the number of adults of voting age (18 years and above) in the southern province of Gaza.
The INE sent to the media copies of the information on the voting age population which it had given to the CNE's executive arm, the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), on 25 May.
The population census of 2017 counted the number of people in Gaza at 1,422,460. At a population growth rate in the province of 1.2 per cent (much lower than the national growth rate of 2.8 per cent), the projected size of the Gaza population in 2019 is 1,456,599.
The INE says that of this figure 836,581 people are aged 18 and above (57.4 per cent of the total), and are thus entitled to register as voters.
This is considerably more than earlier INE projections - a projection based on the 2007 census forecast a Gaza population in 2019 of 726,531.
But the INE projection is nowhere near the fantastic figures for the Gaza population given by STAE and the CNE. STAE set a target for voter registration in Gaza of 1.14 million, and the final number of voters supposedly registered in the province was 1,166,011. The CNE simply rubber stamped this figure, even though it is almost 330,000 more than the INE's figure for voting age adults.
Since STAE received the INE projection on 25 May, while the voter registration was still under way, the electoral bodies still had time to correct their own Gaza figures, but failed to do so.
Gaza is the only province where this anomaly occurs. In the other ten provinces the number of registered voters is lower (and in some cases, such as Niassa and Nampula, much lower) than the adult population projected by the INE.
The impossible registration figure from Gaza distorts the distribution of parliamentary seats. Provincial constituencies are allocated seats in proportion to the size of their registered electorate. STAE and the CNE allocated 22 seats to Gaza - eight more than the number of seats for Gaza in the current parliament.
According to CNE/STAE, only three provinces (Nampula, Zambezia and Cabo Delgado have larger electorates than Gaza - but the INE figures show that, of the 11 constituencies, only Maputo City has a smaller number of voting age adults than Gaza.
By AIM's calculation, using the INE figures, Gaza should be allocated 13 seats - one less than in the current parliament, not eight more.