Mozambique: Police arrest campaigners for vandalising posters - AIM report
Ibo district voter registration post of the Complete Primary School of Ngamba. [Photo courtesy: CIP Eleições]
Registration rate falling with only 4 days to go
Registration ends Thursday 30 May, and with only four days to go, the registration rate is falling. At that rate, only 80% of the target will be registered this year.
In the first 39 days (up to and including 23 May) 5,060,801, 68,93% of the target of 7.341.739 voters, according to the election technical secretariat (Secretariado Tecnico de Administracao Eleitoral, STAE) Friday. But the registration rate is falling. In the first 39 days the rate was 131,153 voters per day, but in the most recent four days, it was down to 117,614 per day. At that lower rate, the final registration will only be 80% of target.
Gaza (91%), Cabo Delgado (89%), Zambezia (82%) have the highest registration rates and Maputo city (47%), Niassa (51%) and Sofala (56%) the lowest. Nampula (63%), Tete (61%), Inhambane (63%) and Maputo Province (51%) are also below average.
The very high registration rates in the Frelimo strongholds of Gaza and Cabo Delgado suggest they could gain 12 additional parliamentary seats.
All brigades working, but not all posts open
“All 5096 registration brigades are working” said STAE in its Friday statement. But this does not mean that all registration posts have opened, notably in Cabo Delgado, which has been hit by an insurgency and Cyclone Kenneth. Of the registration brigades, 2000 are mobile, serving more than one registration post. So the brigades may be working, even through some posts have never opened or are not functioning, our correspondents report.
Registration has not yet started in Megonhane village in Chiure, Cabo Delgado, because it is impossible to cross the Nipuiti river to reach the village. Because of heavy rain from Kenneth, the river is still flooded. The mobile brigade sent to that village was evacuated before the cyclone, local STAE director Belito Daudo told our correspondent. He added that he still hoped to get a mobile brigade across the river.
Also in Chiure, brigades based in Muetero and Halaca villages are working but have been unable to register voters since Wednesday because they have run out of fuel for their generators.
On the other hand, the mobile bridgade in Savanuni, also in Chiure, has only registered 21 voters and no one has come to register for the past five days.
ADS: Fraud behind high registration in Gaza
Gaza has the highest registration levels but it is based on registering children and foreigners, according to observers from ADS (Development and Society Association, Associacao Desenvolvimento e Sociedade), part of the civil society observation platform. ADS published copies of documents, including children’s identity cards altered to make them older, and voters cards from Zimbabweans who had registered in the border town of Chicualacuala.
ADS says that these people are registered using the system for people with no identity documents, in which an official community leader or a neighbourhood secretary goes to the registration brigade and identifies the person as a known resident who is a Mozambican of voting age. Thus the children and foreigners are brought by these local officials, who say they have no identification documents, but qualify. (http://www.adsmoz.org/eleicoes/index.php/regiao-sul/71-zimbabweanos-recenseiam-se-em-chicualacuala)
Gaza is overwhelmingly Frelimo, so its local officials also are. In past elections, there has been significant ballot box stuffing in Gaza. Inflated registration will could make it easier to inflate the Frelimo vote for President as well as increasing Frelimo seats in parliament.
Sala da Paz: 5 Gurue electoral registers lost
Gurue Is a heavily contested municipality in Zambezia, and 5 register books with 4,000 voters from the 2018 election at EPC Contap have been lost, according to Fernanda Lobato, spokesperson for Sala da Paz (Peace Room). Registrations from last year’s municipal elections are valid this year, but people on the lost register books may not realise they have to register again this year, Lobato said.
She also said that many registration posts across the country are closed – some since the first day of registration – supposedly due to technical problems including lack of electricity or registration materials. The worst problems are in Sofala (Nhamatada and Buzi), Nampula (Mogovolas), and Zambezia (Quelimane, Gurue and Ile).
The Sala da Paz 23 May report is on https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NKPuACiqcQXMvB0dOQW5Wvts9ur6oe3g/view
EISA calls for independent audit
Because of the level of distrust and the “innumerable problems” reported by observers at a time STAE reports good operations, EISA has called for an extension of registration and an independent audit to give credibility to the process. But it adds that an extension is pointless if the problems are not resolved first. . (https://www.eisa.org.za/pdf/moz2019review5.pdf)
Frelimo forcing special teachers registration
Our correspondents have confirmed audios circulating on social media that Frelimo in some areas is forcing civil servants to register at a specific place and then hand in their voters cards to party officials. Teachers are generally forced to register at the school where they teach, rather than near their home as specified in the electoral law. They then have to put their card number of a list and sign it.
The Bulletin has confirmed this across Milange, Zambezia. The secretary of the Frelimo party cell in Eduardo Mondlane neighbourhood, Ismenia Ginove, confirmed this: “We are collecting the cards to give to the party committee with the card number and name of the civil servant.”
People who have already registered are required to register again at the assigned registration post.
In some places, teachers must take a photo of their card and send it to the school head on Whatsapp.
In Nicoadala at EPC de Licuar and in Namacura at EPC Domela, teachers confirm they must hand in their voters cards to the school head.
In Inhassunge, teachers at Escola Secundaria de Inhassunge have been told they must register at Escola Eduardo Mondlane and not at their own school or near their home. The school directorate explained that teachers are supposed to live near their school so they are registering where they are supposed to live.
In Muxungue, Chibabava, teachers, workers in education, and members of the riot police (Unidade da Intervencao Rapida, UIR) must hand in their cards at their workplace. Voting age students a 1 de Maio and Bispo Handerson primary schools have been order to hand in their voters cards to the school.
Many voters without cards
Constant equipment failures, particularly of printers, have left thousands of people registered but without their voter’s cards – which they are supposed to pick up later. But registration closes on Thursday. Our correspondents report piles of cards waiting to be collected. In some places local leaders are actually going house to house to hand out cards. It is estimated that 10% of registration posts have had problems with printers.
Although people can vote without their card, it is more difficult, because the number on the card gives the polling station identification and position on the voters roll.
In Murrumbala (Zambezia) Renamo in Ngomera is telling voters that the failure to issue cards is part of the sabotage strategy of Frelimo to stop voting, in a zone in which most people support Renamo. At the post at EPC de Sabe which covers Raposo and Ngomera, the printer has been broken for two weeks.
In Ile (Zambezia) voters in Massoco confronted the brigade because cards were not being printed. That brought the problem to the knowledge of local STAE director Roberto Armando, who said he order the printer fixed.
Our correspondents also report:
Marracuene (Maputo p) EPC 16 de Junho in Kumbeza, 103 cards await collection. At EP2 de Bozale, 31 cards were waiting and district STAE issued mobile phone credit for the brigade to try to find the voters. Marracuene district STAE director Brigida Malate said “we will work with neighbourhood secretaries to try to locate the card holders.” Similar problems are reported in Limpopo (Gaza) and Inhassoro (Inhambane).
Morrumbala (Zambezia) EPC de Sabe has not been able to print cards for the past two weeks.
In Buzi (Sofala) at Cherimonio, Inhamuchindo and Inhanjou primary schools cards are not being printed due to lack of toner. The post in Angonia (Tete) at EPC de Cherimonio also lacks toner.
And other problems:
Police in Lalaua (Nampula) are letting people jump the queue at EPC de Lurio for 50-100 meticais ($0.80-1.60). In Mossuril (Nampula) the police person guarding one post was drunk and disturbed the registration.
500 resettled families in Chimbondo, Tete city, who were forced to move after the 8 March Revubwe river floods are supposed to register at the nearest schools Nyafuta and Alberto Vaquina. But many cannot because they lost their documents in the flood.
People are being forced to register in Morrumbene (Inhambane). Because of initial low turnout, Frelimo has instructed community leaders to go door to door demanding voters cards.
The brigade at EPC de Ehiline, Rapale has been insulting people who come to register.
Renamo threatens a protest march if registration is not extended beyond Thursday in Nampula, Fernando Lavieque, Renamo political commission member and a Nampula resident, told the on-line Nampula journal Ikweli. (https://www.ikweli.co.mz/2019/05/22/renamo-vai-manifestar-se-para-forcar-prorrogacao-do-recenseamento-eleitoral-em-nampula/)
Fake News: exhortation in name of Chinde government
Circulating on social media last week was a statement, supposedly emitted by the Chinde district government, which says “Because of poor adherence of potential voters to district voter registration posts, the Government informs the entire population that a patrol will be instituted which will demand voter registration cards from all citizens of voting age. In this context the Government encourages everyone to carry their card whenever they are out.” But the bulletin has confirmed the document is false.
The unsigned document was supposedly issued by the district government and carried a reception stamp from the local community radio. Radio delegate Chico Sair said that such a document had never been received and the stamp was false; the radio had been damaged by the cyclone and security was not good, so someone could have accessed the stamp. District Permanent Secretary Eugenio Gocinho also confirmed the document was false.
By Joseph HanlonSource: 2019 General Elections - Mozambique Political Process Bulletin