Voting in Mozambique’s general elections was largely peaceful but with allegations of irregularities, according to the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG).
Accusations of voter intimidation have been levelled against the governing party, FRELIMO, and in some cases, RENAMO. The alleged incidents were brought to the attention of observers in Zambézia and Nampula. In two districts of Nampula, Observers were witnesses to occurrences that gave credence to some of these allegations.
COG chair, former Kenyan Vice-President Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, has promised to give more detail on the accusations in the group’s final report.
Final results are yet to be released by the Mozambique National Electoral Commission (CNE). Mr Musyoka has encouraged aggrieved parties to use appropriate legal channels to pursue all grievances in order to ensure thorough investigations.
In the COG’s preliminary statement, Mr Musyoka said: “On election day, polling stations generally opened on time. They were equipped with requisite polling staff and materials. Although there were some variations in the lay-out outlined in the training manual for polling officials, the secrecy of the vote was not compromised. The procedures for the opening of the polls were followed.”
He added: “In a number of cases, police presence at polling stations breached the 300 metres perimeter limit indicated in the electoral law, but we were impressed by the confidence and enthusiasm of polling officials, a significant number of whom were young men and women.”
Members of the COG were deployed to observe the Provinces of Maputo, Nampula, Sofala, Zambézia and Gaza.
The COG called on all Mozambicans, regardless of party affiliation, all critical stakeholders - including political parties and their leaders, the election management body, civil society, and the media – to play their part in fulfilling the expectations of the people for credible and peaceful elections.