The Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) has commended Mozambicans for voting in a largely peaceful and orderly manner during the 2019 Presidential, National and Provincial Assembly elections. The Group, however, was unable to conclude that all aspects of the elections were credible, peaceful and transparent and has offered recommendations for improved elections in the future.
A final report by the COG commended positive aspects of the elections, including the signing of a peace agreement between the two leading parties, FRELIMO and RENAMO. The group says this created a conducive pre-election environment; deepening the country’s decentralisation process through the indirect election of governorships for the first time.
The group praised recovery efforts undertaken in the wake of Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, which hit Mozambique in March and April 2019, enabling polls to take place in the worst-affected provinces. However, it cited increased violence and tensions, as well as incidents of serious irregularities and reports of intimidation of voters.
The group encouraged relevant authorities to investigate and bring perpetrators to justice, in order to prevent a culture of impunity from taking root in Mozambique’s future democratic processes.
While acknowledging that these were only the sixth general elections in Mozambique, the group underscored that “political parties, the election management body, civil society, media representatives and all stakeholders have a role to play in nurturing this country’s relatively young democracy, and in ensuring improved elections in the future.”
The COG was led by HE Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, former Vice-President of Kenya.
The final report has been shared with the Government of the Republic of Mozambique, political parties and other electoral stakeholders.