Special polling stations for Gaza ghosts?
Many polling stations with no voters are being reported in urban areas of Gaza province, including Xai-Xai and Bilene, by observers and our correspondents. These are the areas with the 300,000 extra registered voters - the places where the number of voters vastly exceeds the number of voting-age adults. It appears that the ghost voters have their own polling stations.
Less than 50% turnout predicted
Queues a polling stations at mid-day are a good predictor of turnout. Today there were short or absent queues at most polling stations at 13h00. This suggests a turnout of under 50%. The first two multiparty elections had high turnouts of 88% and 74% of registered voters, but in the three most recent fewer than half of those registered actually voted: 2004 (43%), 2009 (45%), and 2014 (49%).
Both Zambezia and Nampula had some long queues at mid-day, but also with polling stations with only a handful of voters. Sofala is mixed with long mid-day queues at some polling stations in Beira and Buzi but none in Dondo. In Cabo Delgado there were still 40-60 people in many queues suggesting a higher turnout. Niassa, Manica and Tete also reported some queues of 40-60, but others with no one.
3 provinces block observation
A tiny pile of credentials was handed today, voting day, to the biggest independent observer group, EISA. But 2915 independent observers were never accredited and cannot go into the polling stations tonight to monitor the count, making it easier to commit fraud. A few credentials were issued to EISA this morning - 90 in Nampula and 98 in Zambezia - too late to be distributed to observers in far corners of the provinces.
Three provinces are effectively blocking independent observations. Gaza issued only 16% of the credentials requested by EISA, Zambezia 21% and Tete 39% - too few for an effective observation. Nampula and Sofala issued credentials in the past few days, reaching 63% of the EISA request and allowing some observation. By contrast Niassa, Cabo Delgado, Manica, Inhambane, and Maputo province and city issued 100% of those requested by EISA.
Caught with Frelimo ballots
Since the opening of voting, people have been caught with blank ballot papers or those marked in favour of Frelimo and its presidential candidate, trying to introduce them at the ballot boxs. Felisberto Naife, Director of the Technical Secretariat of the Electoral Administration (STAE), admitted the problem existed but refused to comment at press conference this afternoon. This should be impossible and requires the connivance of polling station staff.
Our correspondents across the country reported cases throughout the day, particularly in Nampula, Zambezia and Sofala, all provinces of opposition influence.
In the district of Angoche (Nampula), a citizen with 27 ballot papers was found outside the polling station at EPC Eduardo Mondlane where the vote was taking place. He was referred to the police.
In Mopeia District (Zambezia), at EPC June 16, a scrutineer named Selma Francisco was found with pre-marked ballot papers for Frelimo, about to be introduced to the ballot boxes.
In Dachua, Milange (Zambezia), a citizen was arrested with more than 6 extra ballot papers. Also in Milange in Chitambo, another citizen was caught with pre-marked ballot papers in favour of Frelimo.
In Mocuba (Zambezia), at Mangulamelo Secondary School, a citizen with pre-marked bulletins was found in the backpack. It was approached by a Renamo delegate and taken to the police.
In Inhassunge (Zambézaia) at Mussama primary school, a local teacher named Bimo was caught with 8 ballot papers.
In Cheringoma Sofala, at Chide primary school two women were found with additional ballot papers they were trying to put into the ballot box. The two were detained by the police present at the polling station.
In Beira, at Matacuane primary school, a person was found with 12 extra ballot papers outside the polling station.
Tear gas triggers last minute decision on register error
Police used tear gas to disperse voters who claimed they had voters cards but their names were absent from the register book in Mocuba, Zambezia, reports observer group CESC. Hundreds of voters fled the polling station and tear gas without exercising their right to vote. Finally, too late this afternoon to be of any use, STAE issued a ruling that anyone with a voters card with a number that corresponds to a polling stations must be allowed to vote.