Mozambique: Community Radios Predict Frelimo Victory

Maputo — Like every other election observer group, Mozambique's Community Radio Forum (FORCOM) has concluded, from the large number of polling stations observed, that incumbent President Filipe Nyusi and the ruling Frelimo Party have won the general and provincial elections held on 15 October.

In all provinces, the preliminary results from this sample show Frelimo winning with over 60 per cent of the vote, except for Zambezia (50.1 per cent) and Nampula (57.4 per cent).

But FORCOM also stated that these were "the most critical" of Mozambique's recent elections, in terms of fraud, since there were "generalised" attempts by "sympathisers of political parties to manipulate the process by introducing extra votes into the ballot boxes in favour of their parties".

The FORCOM report lists around 30 instances of attempted fraud, and other irregularities. Thus, at a polling assembly in Angoche, in the northern province of Nampula, a youth was found in possession of 12 ballot papers supposedly marked in advance in favour of Frelimo, but he managed to escape detention.

In Milange district, Zambezia province, six people found in possession of extra ballot papers were not so lucky and were detained. The report does not state which party would have received the extra votes.

In Nalia, on Mozambique Island, in Nampula, a Frelimo member was found with three ballot papers marked in advance for Frelimo. Also in Nalia, a voter was accused of voting twice, leading to a near riot, which the police had great difficulty in controlling.

At a polling station in the 12 October primary school in Beira, the chairperson of the polling station was found with six ballot papers, allegedly marked in favour of Frelimo. Voting was briefly interrupted and monitors of the opposition parties lodged a complaint with the National Elections Commission.

On two occasions, both in the central city of Chimoio, people were arrested for campaigning on behalf of Renamo at the polling stations. Campaigning activities are banned on polling day.

At a polling station in Macanga district, in Tete province, two members of Renamo were arrested for threatening a policeman with a pistol.

At several stations staff imposed illegal limitations on press freedom. The report states that in the northern city of Cuamba, a polling station chairperson prevented journalist Madalena Issufo, of the Cuamba Community Radio, from reporting during voting day.

In Beira, journalist Amade Ismael from the Catholic Radio Pax was denied access to the polling stations, even though he was fully accredited to cover the voting.

FORCOM also noted violations of the rule that elderly voters, disabled citizens and pregnant women should be allowed to go to the head of the queue and vote first.

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