Maputo — The claim by Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, that extra voter cards have been illicitly produced in the northern city of Nampula is "a pure lie", according to the spokesperson for the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), Claudio Langa.
At a Maputo press conference on Thursday, Renamo spokesperson Jose Manteigas said that 119 new voter cards were produced on 2 August in the house of a block chief in the Nampula neighbourhood of Muhavire.
Contacted by AIM on Friday, Langa said this was completely impossible. The voter registration brigades printed voter cards when citizens registered as voters during the registration period that ran from 15 April to 30 May, using computer equipment known as a Mobile-ID.
At midnight on 30 May, the function for printing voter cards shut down, and it would be impossible to reopen it, Langa added. The equipment can still print out the lists of voters who have already registered, but it cannot print any more cards. "The system is locked down", Langa insisted.
Furthermore all the Mobile-IDs have been collected from the registration brigades and are currently stored with the provincial branches of STAE.
Manteigas was on much firmer ground with his accusation that Frelimo members are illicitly collecting voter cards. There is photographic evidence that this is happening, some of it published on the Facebook page of the electoral observation coalition known as the "Sala da Paz" ("Peace Room").
This is illegal, and has already been denounced by the chairperson of the National Elections Commission (CNE), Abdul Carimo. Langa stressed that "Nobody should give their card to anybody else for any reason. The voter card is personal and cannot be transferred to anyone else".
Manteigas also blamed Frelimo for the violent incidents that have marred the election campaign, mentioning in particular the brutal beating of teacher Aristides da Conceicao and his wife on 6 December, in Derre district, Zambezia province, merely because he had received Manuel de Araujo, the Renamo candidate for governor of Zambezia.
He also mentioned the arson attack against the house of Araujo's mother, Ines Alculete, in the Zambezia provincial capital, Quelimane last Monday.
Manteigas protested at Frelimo obstruction of the campaign of the Renamo leader and presidential candidate Ossufo Momade in Manhica and Boane districts in Maputo province and in Nicoadala and Milange in Zambezia. He claimed the police were indifferent to Frelimo sabotage of Renamo motorcades.
"The people who order these acts are Frelimo leaders at all levels", accused Manteigas. "They feel their lack of popular support in Mozambican society, which is why they are unleashing their rage and fury against the members and leaders of Renamo".
He feared this would make free and fair elections impossible on 15 October, and called on the international community to intervene and "once more call on the enemies of peace and national reconciliation to be guided by democracy and peaceful coexistence".