CIP: Polling stations open, few queues, but register book problems - Mozambique Elections
In Nampula, Catholic Church radio station Radio Encontro says it is being threatened by high-ranking personalities from the ruling party, Frelimo.
According to the northern Mozambique radio station, the intimidation occurred after it complained of irregularities in the electoral process for the Nampula by-election being held next Wednesday, January 24.
Radio Encontro director Benvindo Tápua says he has received death threats.
DW Africa: Which Radio Encontro allegations gave rise to the intimidation?
Benvindo Tápua (BT): The first complaint was about the registration of about 50 citizens in districts outside Nampula municipality. Records were made of the people and then sent to Nampula to support the campaign and vote. We have proof from the districts themselves. I have just got back from Malema district, where there is a family whose son told me that his mother went to vote in Nampula and then had the guarantee of progress. I asked him how it was possible to vote there if she does not belong to the municipality, and he replied that it had always been like that. This is the charge.
DW Africa: are you talking about registration on electoral rolls?
BT: Those registrations are not very clear. Here in the municipality of Nampula, some secretaries are involved in the registration of some ballot papers, but we have not yet been able to get in there and get the documents – we did not have access to the people who did this work. Also, there is a certain apprehension. But we have evidence in the districts, because we spoke to some targeted people, who confirmed to us that they are in possession of cards to vote in Nampula. “I will support my party and I will certainly vote,” they say.
DW Africa: Has Radio Encontro already reported the intimidation to institutions such as FORCOM (National Forum of Community Radios) and the police?
BT: We sent some documents to the police, but in response we were asked to go there and explain what was really happening. So I went there, but the person who had to attend to me was not there, and then I had to go to the district and I just came back today. FORCOM has already been briefed on the intimidations.
It is believed that [the person behind the threats] is an authority in the country, a prominent figure here in the country, who has already called another religious radio station to say that Radio Encontro is hindering their work. But we did not badmouth anyone; in this case, we only mentioned anti-democratic attitudes. With regard to these 50 people, from the information already broadcast on television, in which the Renamo candidate [Mozambican National Resistance] denounces the existence of “exceeding” electoral registration books, we concluded that these “exceeding” people, who are not registered, must be the result of such registers made in the districts.
DW Africa: Who are these prominent individuals who are threatening Radio Encontro?
BT: (Laughter) That, we cannot say …
DW Africa: But Mozambique is still a free country and there is freedom of expression …
BT: It is true that it is a free country, but because we are stubborn we have received threats … they have even made death threats to me – because of civic education, a subject we have dealt with several times …
DW Africa: These prominent individuals who are intimidating Radio Encontro: do they belong to the ruling party?
BT: Yes, they do.Source: Deutsche Welle
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