Mozambique: Portugal's Prime Minister to visit next week for summit meeting
For illustration purposes only. [Image: CNE & STAE Moçambique / Facebook page]
3rd attack by Renamo dissidents
Four vehicles were shot at near the Pungwe river, the border between Gorongosa and Nhamatanda districts in Sofala province, in the early morning on Wednesday 4 September. The Bulletin understands there were no deaths but five people suffered serious injuries and are being treated in hospital. The vehicles were travelling north from Inchope and continued their journey as the attacks went on. Gorongosa Mayor Sabeti Morais confirmed the attacks to the Bulletin.
The attacks are believed to be by a dissident group of Renamo guerrillas who rejects the election of Ossufo Momade as Renamo president and his recent peace agreement with the government. They have a base in the Gorongosa mountains and have threatened to disrupt the elections. They called themselves the Renamo Military Junta and are led by Mariano Nhongo.
This is apparently the third attack by the group. The first was an attack in mid-August on an ambulance carrying Frelimo members traveling from Gorongosa north to Maringue. The first occurred on the night of 1 September at the Nhamadzi administrative post, north of Gorongosa town, where a person was shot in the arm by alleged Renamo men while returning home.
Comment: Presidential pressure to bend statistics?
It started as questions about a possibly inflated registration in Gaza and an arcane dispute about statistics. It was not the sort of thing that would normally involve a President. But it appears to have escalated to the highest level, with President Filipe Nyusi seeming to intervene to back one side in a technical dispute.
This disagreement is clear enough. The National Elections Commission (Comissao Nacional de Eleicoes, CNE) registered 300,000 more voters in Gaza province than the National Statistics Institute (Instituto Nacional de Estatistica, INE) says there are voting age adults, according to the 2017 population census. Both institutions have publicly defended their numbers.
But the numbers have political implications. Gaza has a high voter turnout and most people vote for Frelimo. This means, perhaps, 250,000 of the extra 300,000 people will vote for Frelimo and its presidential candidate Filipe Nyusi – enough to make a difference in a close election.
President Nyusi made the obvious point that two government agencies – INE and CNE – should not have widely differing population statistics. And it would not be a hard investigation to see if these 300,000 people were missed by the census or if they are ghost voters. Both the population census and the electoral register have names and addresses of the people listed; the electoral registration also has fingerprints. Instead, the president and presidential candidate intervened to back one side in what seemed a technical dispute. Two weeks ago he forced the resignation of the highly respected director of the INE, Rosario Fernandes. As successor, he appointed the equally respected Eliza Monica Ana Magaua and swore her in on Tuesday.
President Nyusi said her task was to make the INE “more credible”. He said the National Statistics Institute “requires of its leaders and collaborators, in addition to a refined technical competence, to be very tactful in the processing and cross checking of data.”
By making clear that institutions could not disagree on statistics and that it was the INE and not CNE that lacked credibility, and by stressing that “tact” has equal standing with technical competence, the President’s instructions were clear.
The new INE head Monica Magaua then said she would carry out the president’s instructions and do a detailed review of the census, and would report in December – after the elections and the new president is elected.
No similar request has been made to the CNE, and the proposal from the Public Integrity Centre (Centro de Integridade Publica, CIP) and this Bulletin for an audit of the electoral registration was turned down.
A president standing for re-election always has an advantage because of his access to the state machinery. But does that extend to bending statistics?
Teacher beaten for participating in Renamo campaign;
Frelimo secretary beaten for tearing down Renamo posters
The campaign has opened with more intimidation and violence than in past elections, at least in some places. Our correspondents report incidents from four provinces:
A 30-year-old history teacher named Aristides Assuba Domingo da Conceicao was beaten by strangers Thursday evening (5 September) for attending a reception for the Renamo candidate for governor, Manuel de Araujo. The attack happened in Guerica, Derre district, Zambezia, after Araujo vistied as part of the Renamo campaign.
The victim’s wife said that around 11 pm the attackers broke down the door of their house and entered the house and struck the teacher with machetes on the head and limbs. He was injured seriously enough to be taken to Quelimane Central Hospital.
One of the alleged involved in the act has already been detained by the police, and moved to a jail the district town. He is reported to say he was directed by the district secretary, who is a member of Frelimo.
Two Frelimo officials were seriously beaten by Renamo supporters for allegedly tearing down Renamo posters. In Benga district a Renamo supporter named Zinho Manuel beat the Frelimo cell secretary in the Katsanha area, Agostinho Saindane, for removing Renamo posters that had been affixed to his residence. The victim sustained serious injuries.
In the Zumbo district a Frelimo supporter was beaten by two Renamo supporters for allegedly tearing down Renamo publicity. The victim was seriously injured and is currently receiving treatment at the hospital. The attackers were arrested.
On Saturday 31 August in Kambulatsisi, Madamba, Moatize district, Frelimo supporters led by party secretary Domingos Torre attacked a Renamo member named Celestina Bande at her house. She was seriously injured and taken to the Moatize District Hospital where she was hospitalized. In retaliation, Renamo supporters vandalised the house of Frelimo secretary Domingos Torre, assaulting his wife. The attackers then went to the Frelimo committee and beat the party secretary, Frelimo spokesman Domingos Macajo told a news conference.
According to Macajo, in the Chingodze area Renamo men threw stones at his party’s parade, injuring a sympathizer who lost his teeth.
In Mecuburi district, Nampula, Renamo delegate Joaquim Rafael attacked Frelimo supporter Manuel Alves. The incident occurred on the morning of Wednesday 4 September, when the parades of both parties met along the main road, and supporters exchanged insults and punches. The Renamo delegate was detained for 24 hours.
MDM’s district campaign director in Muembe, Andson da Silva Jose, said that a member of his party had received threatening telephone calls on 5 September because Jose had defected from Frelimo to MDM. He also accused Frelimo of sending someone to an internal campaign meeting to disrupt the meeting. And he claimed that in July a Frelimo official met with a person in Lutueze village who had defected from Frelimo to MDM and offered 20,000 meticais ($320) if the person returned to Frelimo. Jose claimed that the matter had been taken up by the police, but the police commander in Muembe denied this.
6th Frelimo road death
Traffic accidents and particularly motorcycles are extracting a high toll of Frelimo supporters, with the sixth road death Thursday afternoon. A motorcycle crashed into a parked motorcycle in Macate district of Manica, killing one of the riders and seriously injuring the other.
The victims were Frelimo supporters who were following a Renamo parade in the village of Marabenta. The victims appear to have been drinking before the accident.
Where are the small parties?
One week into the official campaign, most parties still have not been seen. The three parties with seats in parliament, Frelimo, MDM e Renamo, are visible with parades, posters and rallies, our correspondents report. But of the small parties, only Nova Democracia (New Democracy, ND) is visible outside Maputo. ND is new, standing for the first time; it was set up by Salomao Muchanga, formerly the head of the Youth Parliament, one of the most active bodies in Mozambican civil society. ND has not yet received state money, but is financing the campaign through donations, said Quiteria Guirengane, a Maputo ND organizer. It is active so far in Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane and Tete.
Manifestos of the parties are being posted as they become available, on https://cipeleicoes.org/documentos/
Collecting card numbers
There are reports from various parts of the country of Frelimo campaigners collecting voting card numbers and telephone numbers of voters, sometimes in exchange for a Frelimo t-shirt. The data collection is organised and there is a special form for the information. But it is not clear what Frelimo will do with the information.
The Nampula on-line newspaper Ikweli reported yesterday (7 September) the arrest of a Frlimo campaigner in Belenenses, Nampula city, collecting names and phone numbers, after a complaint from Renamo. Ikweli says that two explanations were given for the list, one that it was a list of teachers at 12 de Outubro secondary school who attended the 7 September Victory Day celebrations, and the other that is was a list of OJM (Frelimo youth group) members at the school.
By Joseph Hanlon