Read full text: Mozambique elections bulletin 70 - CIP Eleições
Picture: Sala da Paz
Former President of the National Election Commission, Professor Brazão Mazula, said in Maputo on Tuesday that the integrity of the electoral processes in Mozambique necessarily meant that electoral process managers and political players must have an education which leads them to strive for ethical principles and, above all, for wisdom and transparency in the way they act.
Mazula, who was speaking during a lecture on “Integrity of Electoral Processes: Lessons and Challenges for the General and Provincial Elections” promoted by the Institute for Multiparty Democracy (IMD), underlined that electoral bodies, including the National Election Commission ( CNE) and the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE) were crucial to the integrity and credibility of the process, both being bodies with authority in the eyes of the nation and the general public.
“Therefore, we call on the electoral management bodies to strive for ethics in their actions. Even if political parties try to corrupt them, they must have the courage to say no, even though we know that life is difficult. The ethical dimension must prevail,” Mazula said, explaining the two electoral management bodies should cooperate rather than act as protagonists in the electoral process.
Mazula urged the electoral management bodies to promote simplicity since “non-credible phenomena that we have seen in the electoral processes in our country are driven by cleavages and disagreements between the CNE and STAE.”
During his address, Professor Mazula commented on contradictory voter registration data in Gaza province and urged CNE and STAE to be faithful to the data presented by the National Statistical Institute (INE), a reliable state body when it comes to population data.
He appealed to electoral bodies who “must correct this and return justice to the people. The people of Gaza are not to blame for what happened.”
Professor Mazula’s address also touched on the behaviour of Mozambique’s Defence and Security Forces, and particularly the police.
“We call on the Republic of Mozambique Police (PRM) and the military not to act in a politically biased way. Everywhere in the world they serve the state and not the political parties, so we urge them to ensure order and public security and tranquillity in the electoral process, especially in the voting process,” Mazula said.
The PRM, he added, should not be at the centre of electoral conflicts, and neither was its function to beat, kill, or carry ballot boxes. It should be impartial in enforcing the dictates established by law.
In another development, Professor Mazula recalled the need for greater scruple in choosing the members of the Voting Assembly who, he believes, should not be ignorant, or thieves or crooks, but people of impeccable character capable of ensuring transparency in the counting process and taking accurate notes.
Another social segment meriting mention were religious figures, who should not allow themselves to be made into instruments of the political parties in the electoral process. They must, instead, remain equidistant, since religions do not wear party colours.
Chairman of the Mozambican Bar Association, Flávio Menete, corroborated the need for political players to comply with ethical principles for the integrity of the electoral process, principles that must be based on respect for differences, order and observance of the law and the dissemination of messages promoting tolerance and respect for peace.
“Political parties and citizens have a responsibility to reflect and realize that there is free choice of leaders and that there is no reason to beat anyone who thinks differently,” Menete said, adding that observing ethics would mean having no assault on persons, defacing of election campaign posters or march clashes, “which will make the process clean and credible.”
The greater capacity of Voting Assemblies (MMV) in electoral law, which defines the election of the President of the Republic, members of the Assembly of the Republic, and provincial governors, is seen by Menete as imperative for the process to succeed.
Menete criticised repeated revisions of electoral legislation, especially “on the eve” of elections, because this leaves “no time for the political players to digest the changes, and some may even base their positions, in case of electoral disputes, on the repealed law.” He called instead for greater study of existing legislation, for the good of the political parties themselves, polling station officials, and the electoral process in general.
Regarding police action, Menete was categorical in stating that “the police must strictly and rigorously comply with the law and not with illegal orders. Meaning that there must be ethical action by all stakeholders to reduce the scope for conflict.”
The lecture on “Integrity of Electoral Processes: Lessons and Challenges for the General and Provincial Elections” was aimed at raising awareness of the challenges of the electoral process.
IMD Executive Director Hermenegildo Mulhovo said, “We want, at the end of the election process, to be able to say yes, we see ourselves in the election results, and that the process was conducted in a transparent and conflict-free manner.”
The event was attended by national figures, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary political parties, academics and members of civil society, as well as members of national electoral management bodies.
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