Maputo — Lichinga (Mozambique), 17 Sep (AIM) - Saide Fidel, the delegate in the northern province of Niassa of Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, on Monday urged voters in the Chiuloco neighbourhood of the provincial capital, Lichinga, not to hand their voter card over to anybody.
"You should all be vigilant to what we know is happening now", he said. "They're going from house to house collecting your voter cards. You should never give anybody your voter card".
He accused "the adversary" (by which he clearly meant the ruling Frelimo Party) of collecting voter cards, copying the name of the voter and the card number, and then demanding the phone number of the bearers. (Apparently the cards are then returned).
In the far south of the country, Renamo is making the same accusation, claiming that minor municipal officials in some neighbourhoods of Matola city and Namaacha town, under instructions from Frelimo, are collecting voter cards.
The Renamo Maputo provincial delegate, Clementina Bambo, cited by the independent daily "O Pais", claimed that these officials are looking at voter cards and identity cards, "and they are trying to bribe our members".
The accusation that Frelimo collects voter cards for mysterious purposes of its own is made election after election.
Frelimo has denied it, but the chairperson of the National Elections Commission (CNE), Abdul Carimo, speaking at a meeting with political party representatives on Saturday, took the claim seriously enough to stress that no political party has any right to collect voter cards.
The cards are issued to voters during voter registration, and cannot be transmitted to other people. Their sole use is to identify voters at the polling station, and the only people who can legitimately ask to see voter cards are polling station staff.
People whose voter cards have been lost or stolen can still vote, if their names are on the electoral registers, and they can produce an acceptable form of identification containing a photograph, such as a passport, an identity card or a driving licence.