Maputo — The chairperson of Mozambique's National Elections Commission (CNE), Abdul Carimo, on Friday urged all political parties and their candidates "to respect the norms established for the election campaign" and to behave "in a civic and socially acceptable manner".
The campaign for the 15 October presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections begins on Saturday and lasts until 12 October. The last two days before the election, 13 and 14 October, are supposed to be a period in which voters reflect on the messages hey have heard, and no campaigning is allowed in that period.
In an exhortation broadcast to the nation, Carimo urged all those involved in the election campaign "to adopt principles or values that make the elections a festive moment". Those principles should favour "tolerance, forgiveness and reconciliation".
There should be no disorder, incitement to hatred or violence of any kind, he insisted.
Carimo warned the parties and their candidates that the use of state assets (such as vehicles) for election campaigning is forbidden by law, as is the use of schools or places of worship. Hindering other candidates or destroying their election propaganda are also criminal offences, he added.
The election campaign, he said, was the period in which parties launched their manifestos, and tried to persuade the electorate that their policies can solve the problems of the nation.
Carimo called on citizens to follow the campaigns of the various candidates, and listen to their manifestos, in order to decide how they will cast their ballots on 15 October.
"Never forget that one vote can make a difference", he declared. "This exercise of political power is an extremely important fundamental right". Carimo called for a mass turnout at the polling stations, so as to enhance the legitimacy of those elected and reduce the abstention rate.
Carimo urged all the competing parties to observe strictly the Code of Conduct they have adopted "in order to make our elections harmonious, orderly, peaceful, credible and exemplary internally and internationally".
During the election campaign and until the validation of the results, the eyes of the world would be on Mozambique, he warned, particularly in the wake of the recent signing of the definitive peace agreement between the government and the former rebel movement Renamo.