Mozambique: Four Provinces Blocking Independent Observation

Four provinces are trying to prevent independent observation - Nampula, Zambezia, Tete and Gaza. With no time left, 3103 EISA observers still do not have credentials. EISA is the biggest independent observation coalition, coordinating five independent civil society observer groups. Today (Monday) only 276 credentials were issued to EISA, 115 in Tete and 161 in Maputo province. Yesterday just 248 credentials were issued for EISA - 110 in Nampula and 138 in Manica. Only 129 were issued Saturday, all in Maputo city. In the past four days, no credentials were issued to EISA independent observers in Gaza or Zambezia. Even the Catholic Church has been denied election observation credentials in Tete, where there is a concerted effort to prevent independent electoral observation.

Zambezia says it has issued an incredible 19,700 observer credentials and Nampula has issued 9,935. In Zambezia and Nampula thousands of Frelimo-aligned observers have been given credentials and will flood polling stations tomorrow, while independent observers have been denied credentials. In Zambezia, EISA requested 1433 credentials, which by law must be issued, but so far only 206 of the 19,700 credentials are for EISA.

In the other three key provinces, Nampula, Tete and Gaza, fewer than half of EISA observers have credentials.

International observers have been told since yesterday that EISA groups are being given credentials in Zambezia and Tete, but none have been handed over in Zambezia and very few in Tete. It is possible that credential will be held back until tomorrow morning after voting has started, and it is too late to get the credentials to observers in remote areas, as happened in Nampula in 2014.

Tete, Zambezia and Nampula are key battlefields where Renamo hopes to elect governors and gain a majority for presidential candidate Ossufo Momade; Gaza has registered 300,000 more voters than the census says there are voting age adults and the fear is that these ghosts will vote for Frelimo. The opposition fears that without observers to check, Frelimo will use fraud to improperly inflate it vote in these four key provinces

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