Mozambique: With Heavy Police Presence, Turnout Under 20% in Nacala and Milange


In Milange, Zambézia, turnout will be less than 20% with two polling stations where nobody voted.

In Nacala, voters turned out at some polling stations in the first two hours, as we wrote in this morning's bulletin. But the afternoon statement from the Mais Integridade civil society observation consortium estimates that turnout will not exceed 20% in Nacala-Porto. The reason? The voters are afraid of the massive presence of the police.

The presence of the police in all four municipalities is excessive. Three police units were installed, two of which were elite units - the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR), the Special Operations Group (GOE), and the usual Protection Police.

Some GOE agents are wearing masks, which made voters even more afraid of going to vote.  Our correspondents report that the police behaved in a threatening way, and that police vehicles have been circulating since Saturday night.

The opposition has no doubt that the presence of heavily armed police is the main reason why voters did not turn out in Milange, Nacala and Marromeu.

In Nacala, Renamo mobilized its voters not to go to the polls. It also did not appoint any polling station staff (MMVs) or any monitors to watch over proceedings.

More disturbances in Gurué

The repetition of the elections in Guruè is marked by many irregularities and disturbances. Three voters were intercepted allegedly in possession of ballot papers marked in advance in favour of Frelimo.

There are also reports of voters brought in from other, non-municipal areas to vote in Gurué. Some members of New Democracy (ND) tried, unsuccessfully, to neutralize a vehicle carrying voters from other areas. The vehicle escaped with the people on board.

The afternoon was also marked by the police opening fire. The shots were fired in the Gurué General Secondary School. Opposition voters had seized a woman who was voting, although she came from Magige, outside of Gurué. The opposition voters shouted “We want justice!”

By the close of polls, the voters who had already voted were still rioting on the outskirts of the Gurue Secondary School polling centre. This may indicate that there could be further violence during the night.

Renamo and New Democracy to appeal for cancellation of the election in Gurué

In Gurué, Renamo and New Democracy announced that on Monday, 11 December, they will submit appeals for cancelling the vote, because of the alleged verification of electoral crimes, including the violence and detentions by the UIR, and the attempts at ballot box stuffing.

The opposition denounced clashes between voters, members of the competing political parties and the police installed at the 13 polling stations. They also denounced the infiltration of voters who had travelled from non-municipal districts, and the existence of a “shock group” of Frelimo youths formed to carry out what they called “Operation Victory in Guruè".

Marromeu ballot box stuffing and fight

In Marromeu, at polling station number 050328-01 in the 1 May EPC, a Frelimo monitor was caught red-handed try to slip ballot papers marked in advance into the ballot box.

The police also detained a member of the Beira municipal police and member of the MDM, Agostinho Paulo Cantiole, who was accused of assaulting, in the company of others, a Frelimo monitor named Joãozinho José Domingos. The Frelimo monitor was attacked when he was using his cell phone to film Cantiole. The assault occurred in the Joaquim Chissano EPC, in Nhane neighbourhood, involving Cantiole and 19 other MDM members. During the assault, the Frelimo monitor lost his mobile phone and 10,000 meticais.

Mais Integridade denounces more irregularities

In a statement issued late this afternoon (Sunday) the Mais Integridade consortium stated that the voting in the four municipalities was marked by various irregularities, ranging from the attempts to introduce extra ballot papers, filled out in advance, to disparities between the copies of the voter rolls in the possession of the MMVs, and those in the possession of the opposition monitors.

The Mais Integridade statement also notes that the voting was halted on several occasions due to the irregularities.

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