Mozambique: Impossible to Know Real Election Result

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Frelimo's landslide victory was accompanied by unprecedented secrecy and fraud, making it impossible to know the true result, concludes CIP's Mozambique Political Process Bulletin.

Transparency took on a new meaning. Results were changed in secret, but the power of Frelimo's party machine to control the electoral process was openly displayed. Indeed, the biggest change in this election was Frelimo displaying rather than hiding its misconduct. More than 600,000 non-existent or "ghost" voters were registered. More than 3000 civil society observers were illegally denied accreditation, damaging the civil society parallel count, but more than 10,000 Frelimo cadre were registered as "observers".

Analysis of gross misconduct shows that Filipe Nyusi's victory was improperly inflated by more than half a million votes and that at least 5 parliament (AR) seats were stolen from Renamo. In addition, there was widespread misconduct which remains hidden because of increased secrecy.

Ballots are counted with journalists and observers present at polling stations, but at higher levels the results are changed in secret, with no record of the changes. Such secret changes were made by district, provincial and national elections commissions and even the Constitutional Council. Few electoral democracies permit that.

"The Constitutional Council [CC] concludes that electoral legislation has created formal mechanisms to ensure the transparency of electoral processes, opting for the party-ization of the organs which supervise the electoral process, from top to bottom," the CC says.

The idea is that opposition representatives on elections commissions, in the technical secretariat STAE, and on polling station staff will provide a check on the ruling party. But this does not work. Having been the predominant party since independence, Frelimo has created a party machine based on patronage and promises which dominates the courts and civil service and thus the electoral system.

Frelimo has a majority on all electoral bodies, and for the first time it used those majorities to control the electoral process. Little information was available about vote counting and administration, but the Bulletin was free to report widespread misconduct and a landslide in which Frelimo won every district and every province. The Bulletin concludes: "Transparency is no longer about the elections themselves, but about demonstrating the power of the Frelimo party machine to control the electoral process."

This was the best reported Mozambican election. The CIP Bulletin had 463 correspondents covering all districts. And they reported the worst multiparty election so far, with widespread misconduct and demonstrations of ruling party power.

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