Ballot box stuffing, fake registration and other illegal action took 475,000 votes and 5 parliament seats away from Renamo, according to a study by this bulletin published today. In part, the investigation uses the data from the EISA parallel vote tabulation (PVT) which covered 2,507 of the 20,162 polling stations inside Mozambique.
The study found five areas of misconduct and vote inflation in the Presidential election:
+ Overt ballot box stuffing, as measured by exceptionally high voter turnout and high votes for one candidate, gave Frelimo more than 90,000 extra votes. As in past elections, this was worst in Tete and Gaza; in each province more than 20% of polling stations had large scale ballot box stuffing.
+ Votes taken away from a candidate by invalidating them, or otherwise including them with blank or invalid (nulo) votes took 61,000 votes from the opposition. This was particularly common in Tete, Zambezia and Nampula.
+ Nearly 58,000 people voted for president and not for parliament, but no one saw a person putting a ballot in one box but not the other. Thus this is also ballot box stuffing in the presidential race.
+ STAE set low targets and sent fewer brigades to register people in Zambezia, which the bulletin estimates cost the opposition 45,000 votes.
+. The most discussed on-going scandal of this election has been the over registration in Gaza, where 1,166,001 people were registered, which is 329,430 more people than the voting age population of Gaza. "Voters" who registered but who could not exist ("ghost voters") actually voted, and the Bulletin calculates that 161,641 of the "ghosts" actually voted for Nyusi.
+ South Africa also had a huge over-registration and "ghost" voters, which gave Nyusi 62,260 extra votes.
If all of these ghost and fake votes was excluded, Renamo would have won five additional seats in parliament (AR), which is a very large amount of misconduct which has had a significant impact o the election.
The Bulletin also notes that this study only identified areas of quite large misconduct, and suggests that small scale misconduct - a few extra votes in the ballot box or small changes to the results sheets - could have happened in many polling stations with a large impact.
Finally, the exclusion of more than 3000 observers made a difference, because the vote for Nyusi was higher in polling stations without observers.
The full study is here.
EU cites 'irregularities', 'malpractices' and 'intimidation' and calls for CC response
In a unusual and highly critical statement issued Friday, the EU Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) listed the extensive 'irregularities' and 'malpractices' seen by its observers during the election process. And it called on the Constitutional Council (CC) to take "the opportunity of addressing some of these irregularities during the validation of results."
The district counts were "disorganised" and "established procedures were following only about halt the time." Counting procedures were not followed in one-third of polling stations, the EU EOM notes.
"The EU EOM received credible information and observed cases of intimidation of party delegates. EU observers were made aware of hundreds of cases countrywide of polling station presidents expelling opposition party agents and party-appointed poll workers, often with the assistance of police. Many opposition members, whether party agents, party-appointed poll workers or party-appointed election officials, who raised complaints during the process, were considered by the authorities to be disturbing the electoral process and police were called to either arrest or expel them. When police were involved in expelling party agents, it was sometimes violent," reports the observer mission. "Several party agents have remained in police detention since election day. The case of detainees in Gaza is particularly alarming given the evidence submitted to the mission certifying that party agents have been detained without access to defence of their choice or respect for due process."
EU observers detected a number of irregularities, including "ballot-box stuffing, multiple voting, intentional invalidation of votes for the opposition, and altering of polling station results with the fraudulent addition of extra votes. EU observers also noted unlikely turnout figures, major results deviations between polling stations in the same polling centre, and many cases of poll workers, civil servants, and electors found with ballot papers outside polling stations. Irregularities were observed in all provinces."
The EU EOM had already issued a highly critical report on 17 October, two days after the 15 October election. It is unusual for an observer mission to issue a second interim statement at the time of the departure of its team, and very unusual for it to be so sweeping in its criticism - "countrywide" intimidation, half of districts not following counting procedures, "many cases" of ballot papers outside polling stations, and irregularities "in all provinces."
The EU EOM says it will not issue its final statement until after the Constitutional Council (CC) has ruled on the election, probably in late December. But in calling on the CC to act, the EU EOM is making clear that it considers the conduct of the election unacceptable.
The statement is available in English and in Portuguese.
Angoche counts moved to STAE
At least 6 out of 9 polling stations at EPC Namaripe, Angoche, Nampula were not counted at the polling station on 15 October, but instead at STAE headquarters, our correspondents report. After the vote, Renamo supporters remained in the centre of Namaripe, near the polling centre, waiting for the count.
The count started at the polling stations, as required by law. But at around 10 pm supposed Renamo supporters attacked the school where the count was taking place, setting fires and throwing stones and other blunt objects at the Namaripe primary school polling centre. Polling station staff stopped the count, and police were called to intervene to disperse the population and restore order (See Bulletin 81).
Local STAE ordered the ballot boxes, party delegates, and polling station staff to be transported in a police escorted STAE vehicle to STAE headquarters, where the count was completed. The results were posted at STAE headquarters.
Other cases of vandalism were reported in Angoche on 15 October (See Bulletin 81).
List of elected parliament members
Sala da Paz has published the full list of members elected to parliament (AR) by party and province. It is available here.