Maputo — Morrumbene (Mozambique), 24 Sep (AIM) - Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, in the southern province of Inhambane, has accused members of the ruling Frelimo Party of collecting voter cards for unknown purposes during the current election campaign.
Speaking to voters, in Cambine village, in Morrumbene district, the Renamo district delegate, Jacob Chidocoro, claimed that in some cases the Frelimo members just noted down the number of the cards, but in others they took the card itself.
"Every morning brigades go out to collect card numbers", accused Chidocoro. "We tried to investigate, and they say the ruling party is doing this. We have proof, we have lists of people whose card numbers were collected, and in some cases their cards were even taken from them".
When Renamo tried to find out what was happening to the voter cards, some voters told them they had been promised that, on 20 October, five days after polling day, they would each receive 5,000 meticais (about 82 US dollars).
"Some members told us this", sad Chidocoro. "Some people are told that, since they have given the card numbers, they don't need to vote, because they have already exercised their right to vote. Others, mainly elderly people, are told 'since we have already taken the numbers, you have voted, and if you go to the polling stations to vote, we shall find out, because there is a machine there that can identify your votes'".
This story may sound fantastic, but the illicit collection of voter cards or card numbers is being reported from across the country. The situation was alarming enough for the chairperson of the National Elections Commission (CNE), Abdul Carimo, to warn, on 14 September, that no political party has any right to collect voter cards.
When AIM contacted the Morrumbene district branch of the CNE's executive body, the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), local STAE director Bento Taimo said he had received no complaints about card collection. He suggested that, if Renamo has evidence, it should present it to the district court, which is open 24 hours a day to handle alleged violations of the electoral legislation.
Voter cards help citizens vote smoothly, but they are not strictly necessary. Citizens may vote if their names are on the voter rolls, and if, at the polling station, they can produce any recognised identity document that carries a photograph, such as a passport, an ID card or even a driver's licence.