New confrontation: Frelimo says no election law without disarmament agreement - By Joseph Hanlon
The Centre for Public Integrity (CIP) warns that the parliamentary crisis between the two main parties could compromise the municipal elections. The MDM considers that the state is not being managed in its own best interests.
Tensions over the Renamo demilitarisation process between the parliamentary benches of the ruling party Frelimo and the largest opposition party led parliament to postpone an extraordinary session in June to approve the legislation that will regulate the October 10th municipal elections.
CIP points out that there were other obstacles to the process in the past. Researcher Borges Nhamire explains: “Because it suffered two postponements: the first postponement of the electoral census caused by the general census of population and housing carried out in August of last year, leading to a postponement of about six months. And then, when the census was finally to take place, it was delayed again because of the second round of Nampula’s mid-term election, which set the calendar back completely.”
Nhamire stresses that the situation seriously undermines the electoral calendar “and no further delay was expected because there are deadlines for submission of applications, for example, that must be observed, and the law must be revised. This is very urgent, because without this legislation there is no way to submit applications”.
Parliament however has not set a new date for approving the Electoral Law, and the next ordinary session is scheduled for October, the month of the elections. This leads the CIP to conclude that conditions for holding the elections do not currently exist.
State managed according to “wishes and interests”
The MDM, the country’s second-largest opposition party, holds a similar opinion. Spokesperson and critic Sande Carmona says: “We look at this situation with great concern and, above all, we see that our state is being governed by a number of desires and not by a state agenda. Thus, the situation of state management is in the situation in which the Mozambican state is.”
“So it’s unfortunate and we are concerned that this postponement of the review of the electoral package will actually compromise the electoral operations of October 10th.”
And MDM complaints do not stop here. Carmona said that deputies living outside the capital were already in Maputo for the extraordinary session and had to return to their constituencies without a plausible explanation of the postponement.
Possible postponement of elections
Meanwhile, the impasse in parliament remains. What are the technical and political consequences of a possible postponement?
“Technically it means that the elections will be held before February 2019 to replace the current office holders, or will not be held. So there is a complicated situation in which it would not be known what the mandate of the office holders is, in the case of the municipal council assemblies and the presidents of municipal councils currently in office,” Nhamire says.
“Such are the potential consequences to be considered, but for now we can clearly say that they are not positive for a country that is already economically weakened from a security point of view, and, from a democratic point of view, will also not be good.”
The elections being postponed would be unprecedented in the electoral history of the country – and caused by political rather than technical or financial reasons, in a country moreover which has been has been an example in Africa of the regular holding of elections for the peaceful handover of power.Source: Deutsche Welle