Mozambique's National Elections Commission (CNE) has proposed that voter registration ahead of the municipal elections scheduled for 11 October 2023 should be held between January and March.
Speaking in Maputo on 2 June at a meeting with political parties, civil society bodies, and cooperation partners on the current stage of preparations for the elections, CNE spokesperson Paulo Cuinica said the exact dates for the voter registration will be announced by the government, but the proposal from the CNE is the first quarter of the year.
"Naturally, we are making a proposal based on the time needed to undertake this activity", he said. "The work must be done before the end of the first quarter of the year. Any later would cause complications".
Cuinica said that all members of the 11 provincial election commissions have been sworn into office. Now the district elections commissions in the 58 districts that contain municipalities must be appointed and sworn in. The members of the commissions will then be trained to use the computerised electoral equipment. Cuinica added that new equipment is being imported with equipment used in the last elections being upgraded.
The CNE estimates that 3.2 billion meticais (about US$50 million at the current exchange rate) is needed for all the election preparations. But to date, the CNE has only been guaranteed one billion meticais.
"Right now, we are in dialogue with the government to see how this deficit can be overcome", said Cuinica. "Naturally, if they so wish, the donors may support the elections, but this will also be via the government because it is the State Budget that should fund elections".
Mozambique's partners have made it repeatedly clear that Mozambique should move towards self-sufficiency in financing its elections.
Other problems facing the CNE are uncertainties about the Covid-19 pandemic and the threat of terrorism in the northern province o Cabo Delgado. A connected problem is ensuring that people displaced by the terrorists will have the right to vote, although many of them are living in other parts of Cabo Delgado, or across the provincial boundary in Nampula.
Solving these issues, Cuinica said, depends on "other actors" (presumably the defence and security forces), with whom the CNE has been exchanging impressions. As soon as the conditions are created, the elections will be held in that part of the country".