Maputo — Quelimane (Mozambique), 21 Oct (AIM) - Mozambique's ruling Frelimo Party and incumbent President Filipe Nyusi won last Tuesday's general and provincial elections in the central province of Zambezia, but on a low turnout.
The turnout in the province was about 42 per cent, much lower than the average national turnout of 53 per cent.
In some Zambezia districts, there was an extraordinary number of blank ballots. Thus in Chinde district, at the mouth of the Zambezi river, 9.1 per cent of all votes cast in the presidential election were blank. There were no marks against any of the candidates, and nothing at all had been written on them.
In Maganja da Costa, 8.52 per cent of the ballots were blank, in Luabo 7.98 per cent, and in Mocubela 7.63 per cent.
It is normal for one or two per cent of votes to be blank, but in Maganja da Costa we are asked to believe that 3,237 people walked to the polling stations only to drop an unmarked ballot paper into the ballot box.
Some of the districts also have anomalously high numbers of invalid votes - 6.22 per cent in Maganja da Costa, and 7.29 per cent in Chinde, for example. Again, two or three per cent invalid votes in a polling station is normal, but levels this high arouse suspicion that dishonest polling staff have deliberately invalidated votes by adding an ink mark to make it look as though the voter concerned has tried to vote for more than one candidate.
The chairperson of the Zambezia Provincial Elections Commission (CPE), Emilio Mpanga, read out the results sheets for the three elections, tabulated from the 3,219 polling stations in the province. The results were:
Filipe Nyusi (Frelimo) 541.399 (69.58 per cent)
Daviz Simango (MDM) 29,403 (3.78 per cent)
Ossufo Momade 201,444 (25.89 per cent)
Frelimo 505,906 (65.49 per cent)
MDM 26,217 (3.39 per cent)
Renamo 228,615 (29.6 per cent)
Provincial Assembly election
Frelimo 536,816 (65.29 per cent)
MDM 32,804 (3.99 per cent)
Renamo 252,524 (30.72 per cent)
These figures omit minor parties and candidates, who received a derisory total of votes.
Zambezia sends 41 deputies to the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. On these results, by AIM's calculations, they will be 27 from Frelimo, 12 from Renamo and two from the MDM.
A spokesperson for Frelimo, Molde Gusse, told reporters after the announcement that "the people knew how to make the best choice".
But MDM spokesperson Victorino Francisco denounced the results as a "disgraceful" fraud. "In Zambezia, we have over 90,000 MDM members", he said. "So how do you explain that we only have 26,217 votes?"
Renamo boycotted the ceremony.