Mozambique: PGR Dismisses Renamo Complaints Against Constitutional Council Judges

Maputo — The Mozambican Attorney General's Office (PGR) has dismissed the complaint against the seven judges of the Constitutional Council raised by the country's largest opposition party, Renamo, for lacking legal grounds.

Renamo accused the judges of committing criminal offences in validating the results of the municipal elections held in October 2023, in which the ruling Frelimo party supposedly won in 60 of the 65 municipalities.

According to Renamo, the judges validated the results of the municipal elections using documents from the National Elections Commission (CNE) despite strong indications that they had been forged.

The Constitutional Council did not uphold the Renamo appeal, on the grounds of lack of evidence. Nonetheless, there are certainly good grounds for believing that the results declared in several municipalities (including Maputo, Matola and Nampula) were fraudulent. Parallel vote counts by credible organisations showed that in these places, the true winner was Renamo.

The PGR added that, once the Constitutional Council has ruled on the matter, it cannot make a judgment, since the Council decides in the last instance, and there can be no appeal against a Council ruling.

"In these terms, the Attorney General's Office dismissed Renamo's complaint for lack of legal grounds and ordered it to be closed', reads the PGR statement.

According to the PGR document, with regard to excess of power and abuse of office or functions, the accused, as Constitutional Council Judges, acted in the exercise of their constitutional and legal powers, in obedience to the principle of free conviction of the judges.

This is the third time that the PGR has thrown out Renamo appeals against the October municipal elections.

The first denial was related to the extraordinary appeal submitted by Renamo to request annulment of the Constitutional Council's decision to validate the results, on the grounds that the Council had usurped legislative and administrative powers and had failed to give reasons for its decisions.

The Council undoubtedly failed to give reasons for its rulings. It changed the results (initially announced by the CNE) in several municipalities, including Maputo and Matola. In those two cities, the Council switched tens of thousands of votes from Frelimo to Renamo (but without changing the overall result).

The Council gave no explanation for the changes it had made, and did not state what results sheets ("editais') it had used.

The PGR also rejected a Renamo attempt to bring criminal charges against the General Commander of the Mozambican Police (PRM), Bernardino Rafael, for the violent behavior of Police officers during the elections.

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