Voter registration in Mozambique postponed to April 15
Registration will only be 80% as turnout falls
Registration rates are falling and we predict that only 80% of target voters will register this year. In the first five weeks 131,153 people per day registered, but in the week to 26 May this fell to 112,831.
Registration remains highest in Gaza (94%), Cabo Delgado (93%) and Zambezia (89%). If last minute registration increases slightly and registration for the last four days (Monday-Thursday) remains at the average level as the first six weeks, we predict three provinces will have high registration: Gaza (103%), Cabo Delgado (102%) and Zambezia (97%). The high turnout means Gaza will gain 9 seats in parliament (AR) and Cabo Delgado will gain 1, which will probably be for Frelimo. Zambezia loses five seats.
The high registration in Gaza and Cabo Delgado means a possible 170,000 extra votes for Frelimo candidate Filipe Nyusi, more than 2% of the possible vote, which could make a significant difference in a close election.
The table below gives registration figures up to Sunday 26 May announced by STAE (Secretariado Técnico da Administração Eleitoral (STAE) this morning. Registration ends Thursday 30 May after 46 days.
Underestimate of Mozambicans abroad
Mozambicans abroad have two seats in parliament, but the government has significantly underestimated the number of voting age adults in South Africa and Zimbabwe. It estimated 65,536 in South Africa but so far 109,519 have registered (167%). In Zimbabwe the overestimate is smaller – the estimate was 12,038 voting age adults, but registration has been 14,562 (122%).
Law miscalculates AR seats
The electoral law is wrong in the way that it assigns seats to parliament, and this is shown again when we project the allocation of parliament seats to provinces and only find 247 seats instead of 248. (The other two seats are for Mozambicans abroad.) This is shown in the table below.
The law says that the total registration inside Mozambique is divided by 248 seats (giving 51,279 voters per seat in our estimate). Next the law says that the number of voters in each province is divided by that number of voters per seat to give the number of seats in each province. And, as the table shows, that gives only 247 seats.
This is because it is impossible to have part of a seat – there cannot be half an MP. So if the calculation gives 8.6 we say 9 seats and if it is 8.4 we say 8 seats. That does not automatically give a total of 248.
The d’Hondt method of seat allocation is used everywhere else in the law to resolve this problem , but not for the initial assignment of seats! Parliament has never corrected this error, so, in the past, the National Elections Commissions has, in secret, assigned an extra seat to one province or removed a seat. Whenever it does this, it never admits publicly to have done so, and never says how it decided.
Renamo member convicted of helping Zambians register
Renamo member Paulo Banda was convicted 25 May by the Maravia, Tete, district tribunal of aiding three Zambians to register in Nhanseula, Malowera, by giving testimony that they were Mozambicans without documents. He was fined 17 000 meticais ($270). He is also charged with registering three other Zambians, in a case which has not yet come to trial.
Micheque Wezulu Zulu, Renamo member of the District Elections Commission, told the Bulletin that the court was biased. “Justice, just like the district government, is run by Frelimo. Those Zambians have lived in that village for more than five years.”
Police in Mecanhelas, Niassa, arrested a Malawian trying to register, said the district election commission head, Jomissone Jose.
In Nacarôa, Nampula, two people were arrested Friday, 24 May, at EPC de Mucuthy. Eugenio Barnabe tried to register with documents from someone else, Eugenio Mendes Paulino. And a woman identified only as Ivone had tried to scratch out her birth year on her identity card to pretend she would be over 18 on polling day.
500 displaced families cannot register
500 families in Dombe, Sussundenga, Manica, who were displaced by the flash floods of cyclone Idai, complain they cannot register. They are in Mageba, Matarara, Nuwawa and Nhanhenba 1 and 2 accommodation centres.
The people of Dombe denounced the exclusions to the District Administrator, Rosa Bia Luis, when she visited Dombe yesterday, Monday. District STAE had promised that mobile brigades would go to accommodation centres, but, so far, this has not happened.
Faced with the complaint to the administrator, STAE Sussundenga operations chief Paulino Pascoal could only say she would try to resolve the problem before registration ends on Thursday.
By Joseph HanlonSource: 2019 General Elections - Mozambique Political Process Bulletin