Mozambique elections: CIP condemns murder of Anastacio Matavele as attack on observation - By ...
Image: Social Media
Seven Mozambican civil society organisations have said that the official results from the 15 October general and provincial elections are “not credible”.
Of the six general elections Mozambique has held since the end of the one-party state, these were the most fraudulent, the organisations accuse.
The declaration is signed by the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), the Centre for Development and Democracy (CDD), the Civil Society Learning and Training Centre (CESC), the Community Radio Forum (FORCOM), the Rural Observatory (OMR), the Civil Society Support Mechanism Foundation (MASC), the Mozambican branch of Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA), and the election observation platform “Votar Mocambique”.
The declaration claims that “flagrant manipulation” began in last year’s municipal elections when the counting of votes “took place in a secret and illegal fashion in at least five municipalities”, resulting in victory for the ruling Frelimo Party, although provisional and parallel counts had indicated that the opposition would win those municipalities.
This year’s voter registration was also manipulated, the organisations added, notably through the addition of over 300,000 voters in Gaza province, whom the projections from the 2017 census say cannot exist.
The election campaign, the declaration alleges, was characterised by “a mixture of excessive use of state resources by Frelimo and intimidation of the opposition and of civil society”.
For the first time, an attempt was made to block independent election observation, by delaying or simply not issuing observer credentials. The declaration points out that over 3,000 credentials were not issued, and some observers only received credentials on polling day itself – too late for them to travel to remote areas. This particularly affected observation in Zambezia, Tete and Gaza provinces.
The worst thing that happened in the run-up to the elections was the assassination of civil society and election observation activist Anastacio Matavel in the southern city of Xai-Xai, capital of Gaza province, by a death squad formed by members of the police force.
The organisations considered this murder “an attempt to intimidate and impede election observation by civil society organisations, particularly in Gaza”.
During the polling station count on the evening of 15 October, the legal requirement that the results sheets (“editais”) be posted on the walls of the polling stations was frequently violated. Similarly the tabulation of votes in the district capitals was also not posted.
The declaration calls on the country’s courts and on the Constitutional Council (the highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law) to make a “fair and transparent” assessment of the elections, “judging the merit of the questions and not merely the formalities, as they have done in the past”.
The declaration states that the signatory organisations “are united to launch a campaign in memory of Anastacio Matavel to guarantee that the electoral management bodies are never again captured by any political party”.
They added that they are starting this campaign by demanding the formation of “a reputable and neutral National Elections Commission that can lead the reform of the electoral system”.