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Lack of funding and the Gaza voter registration case are sowing doubts about the upcoming electoral process.
It’s now less than three months to the general elections, and the Mozambican executive is still looking for money to make the process viable.
Economy and Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane said on Sunday the government had only 44 percent of the more than 14 billion meticais (about 211 million Euros) estimated as necessary to cover election expenses. If donors do not emerge, the government plans to tighten its belt and cut spending, not ruling out an amending budget.
But analyst Fatima Mimbire is surprised that the executive has no money to make the elections viable.
“The question that must be asked is: what are the government’s priorities?” she says. “The elections are pre-programmed, every five years. They must happen. In all the planning it does, [the Government] must already foresee that the important element in democracy is the elections.”
Why so much money?
On the other hand, the analyst is also surprised that it takes more than 200 million Euros to hold the elections – 500% as much as was needed for the 2014 general elections, according to calculations by the Centre for Public Integrity of Mozambique (CIP).
“It is more than clear that the costs of the electoral process are sort of embellished. I think there has to be a thorough checking of the accounts to make sure that they have not been inflated for the benefit of the ruling party,” Mimbire recommends.
Hermenegildo Mulhovo, Executive Director of the Institute for Multiparty Democracy (IMD), says he is concerned that, less than three months before the election, money is still lacking. “We recommended, immediately after the end of the voter registration, that the missing resources be mobilised with the international community,” he notes.
Despite the lack of funds, the official believes that the elections are not in danger.
“Elections are a must, regardless of resources,” he says. “It would be unconstitutional not to hold the elections.”
Voter registration controversy
Continuing to hold the spotlights is the controversy between the National Election Commission (CNE) and the National Institute of Statistics (INE) about the number of voters in Gaza province. According to the INE, 300,000 more voters than the number total of people of voting age in the province were registered.
This Monday (22.07), the Minister of State Administration and Civil Service, Carmelita Namashulua, defended the need to find an “equilibrium point”, but analyst Fatima Mimbire asks how this could be done.
“The only equilibrium point is to annul the Gaza voter registration, because it is not possible for Gaza province to have a growing trend … it has not changed dramatically. We are not going to go find an equilibrium point so as to support cheating,” says Mimbire.
Hermenegildo Mulhovo expects an explanation from the authorities – preferably before the October elections. “We have to check what happened and go to the polls with this situation normalised , because if we go to the elections with the situation as it is, the process in Gaza will be discredited.”
Several Mozambican civil society organisations and the country’s largest opposition party, the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), are calling for an independent audit of the voter registration in Gaza.
Extension of terms of office?
As the discussion of the Gaza figures continues, the Mozambican parliament will later this week discuss a draft law that could extend the term of office of some CNE members from the Liberation Front of Mozambique (Frelimo, the party in power), the Democratic Movement of the Republic of Mozambique (MDM) and civil society, who have been sitting on the body since 2013.
The president of the first commission of the Assembly of the Republic, Edson Macuácua, says that there is neither time nor financial resources for the selection of new members.
But Fatima Mimbire criticises this argument. “It is mainly to lend logic to a fraudulent preparation process which has already started and which will only be possible with the same team who spearheaded this process [remaining in place],” she concludes.Source: Deutsche Welle