Mozambique: Mid-January for Investiture of President

Maputo — The Constitutional Council, Mozambique's highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law, has announced that Filipe Nyusi will be sworn in for a second term as President of the Republic, on 15 January.

The Council made this announcement, dated 3 December, before it has even validated and proclaimed the results of the general and provincial elections held on 15 October. The announcement can be taken as a sure sign that the Council intends to validate the results announced by the National Elections Commission (CNE) on 27 October.

According to those results, Nyusi won the presidential election with more than 4.5 million votes (73 per cent), while his nearest rival, Ossufo Momade, leader of the main opposition party, Renamo, won 1.4 million votes (less than 22 per cent).

In the parliamentary elections, Frelimo took 4.2 million votes (70.8 per cent), and Renamo 1.4 million (22.7 per cent).

These results give Frelimo 184 seats in the 250 parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. Renamo will have 60 seats in parliament and the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) will have only six.

Frelimo won in all provinces, which means that all ten of the provincial governors will come from Frelimo.

But the opposition parties have rejected the results as fraudulent, and a large number of frauds and irregularities were indeed reported.

Even the chairperson of the CNE, Abdul Carimo, admitted to reporters that the elections were marred by "many illicit acts", but he refused to take any responsibility for these.

"When we announced the results, nobody heard us say they were free, fair and transparent", said Carimo. He washed his hands of such a judgment, and said it was now up to the Constitutional Council to decide whether the elections had been fair and transparent.

A close analysis of the results made by the "Mozambique Political Process Bulletin", published by the anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity, showed that around 478,000 votes had been illicitly taken from Renamo.

But even if all these votes were to be given back to Renamo and taken away from Frelimo, there would still be a gap of over two million votes between Nyusi and Momade. In other words, fraud, serious though it was, cannot explain the results.

Opposition parties were entitled to protest against irregularities to the district courts. But in the entire country there were only 58 such protests, and they came from only three of the 11 provincial constituencies. No complaints at all were made about events in the vast majority of the over 20,000 polling stations.

Judging from the previous general elections, the Constitutional Council will not announce its verdict on the elections until the last week in December.

The Council can make changes to the results. It could, for example, throw out of the final results those polling stations with impossibly high turnouts of 100 or over 100 per cent, which would send a useful message to those local officials who believe this sort of fraud can go unnoticed.

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