Mozambique elections: Government community radio censorship, arson attack - By Joseph Hanlon
Natomoto primary school [EPC] voter registration post. Moma district, Nampula province. Photo courtesy: CIP Eleições
Registration 650 000 short and falling further behind
After three weeks, registration is 650 000 people short of targets and is falling further behind, data released by STAE yesterday shows. Although some of the shortfall is in cyclone hit Sofala, most in is unaffected provinces.
Registration remains highest in Gaza, Manica and Cabo Delgado, and lowest in Sofala, Niassa, Nampula, Tete and Zambezia.
STAE estimates that there are 7,341,739 people who will be of voting age on 15 October and did not register last year. Registration is 46 days, which means STAE’s target each day is to register 2.17% of this group, 159 316 people.
After 21 days, on 5 May registration should have been 3 345 630 (46%), but data released yesterday shows that only 2 701 365 people (37%) had registered, a shortfall of 644 265. The full table is available on https://cipeleicoes.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Resenceamento_ate_-15-05-19.pdf
Last week STAE released data up to 1 May. In the four days since then, STAE should have registered 637 263, but it only registered 564 708, so it is falling further behind.
Only three provinces are above the target of 46%: Gaza (55%), Manica (48%), and Cabo Delgado (47%). There is a big gap before the others, in declining order: Inhambane (38%), Zambezia (35%), Tete (33%), Nampula (33%) and Niassa (32%). The three remaining provinces were expected to be low, Sofala (28%) due to the cyclone, and Maputo province (29%) and Maputo city (26%) where most people registered last year.
STAE reports that so far 1 429 250 women have registered and only 1 272 115 men.
Renamo tells CNE head: sack STAE director, problems worst in Renamo zones
Dozens of registration posts are closed because of lack of equipment, mainly in Renamo areas, showing the incapacity of STAE to conduct the electoral process, a Renamo delegation told CNE president Abdul Carimo yesterday. It demanded that Felisberto Naife be dismissed as director-general of STAE (Secretariado Tecnico da Administracao Eleitoral).
The delegation was led by party spokesperson Jose Manteigas and Renamo election office head Maria Joaquina. Both are members of parliament. They said the lack of solar panels was a particular problem. “Thousands of Mozambicans are losing their chance to register,” said Manteigas. “We asked the president what action was being taken to make up for the time lost at closed registration posts.”
The Bulletin conducted a survey on 1 May which found that 9% of registration posts were closed, and another 10% had problems leading to slow registration and long queues. This was published in the previous bulletin: http://bit.ly/MozGE-17
Manteigas said the non-working posts are mostly in areas where Renamo is strongest, saying “this is all a show to hide the intention to register the fewest people possible in areas of Renamo influence.”
Renamo said that 149 registration posts are still closed in Sofala, including in Chibabava district (7 of 22 posts closed), Buzi (10 of 34 posts closed for lack of electricity), and Nhamatanda (32 of 47 posts closed, again because of no power for the registration computer). Manteigas said that in Zambezia 105 posts are not working and in Manica 18 posts are closed (16 in Sussundenga and 2 in Machaze). In Cabo Delgado 18 post are not open in Chiure district, 7 in Mocimboa da Praia, 4 in Meluco and 2 in Palma.
Abdul Carimo, president of the National Elections Commission (Comissao Nacional de Eleicoes, CNE) blamed the cyclones. He did not deny the closures, but said that the damage caused by the cyclones meant there was unexpected demand for alternative energy sources. He also blamed access problems caused by damaged roads.
Wave of attacks hits registration
A wave of insurgent attacks in Macomia and Meluco districts in Cabo Delgado has paralysed registration. Communities have been dispersed and some registration equipment has been vandalised. On Sunday 5 May armed men entered Minhanha village in Meluco, killing three people and burning 100 hours. Because of the attack, 5 of the 38 registration posts in Meluco were closed on Monday, in Iba, Minhanha, Nkoripo, Napire and Iphuho (Thiphili).
On Friday (3 May) the registration post in Nacate, Macomia, was attacked and equipment vandalised, but with no deaths or injuries to people. But after attacking the registration post, the insurgents invaded houses in Nacate, killng six people and burning houses.
Also in Macoma, insurgents attacked Ntapuala and Banga -Velha villages, killing a teacher who was found riding his motorcycle, and burning three people inside their houses.
On Saturday night insurgents entered Iba and Ipho villages in Meluco, and after villages fled the militants spent the night drinking in the village.
Dozens of foreigners stopped from registering
Party monitors have stopped Malawians, Zambians and Zimbabweans from registering in Manica and Tete. The opposition accuses Frelimo of trying to set up voting fraud by registering foreigners. But it appears that their main reason for trying to register is not to actually vote, but for foreigners already resident in Mozambique to obtain a Mozambican identity document.
In Manica province our correspondents report 23 cases, 17 in Manica district, 5 in Tambara, and 1 in Vanduzi. For example at EP2 de Manica, on 15 April six Zimbabweans arrived with no documents but with an already registered voter prepared to give false testimony that they were local and Mozambican. Local STAE head Roberto Luís said there were many Zimbabweans living and working in this border district, especially in the neighbourhood of the school.
In Tete 10 cases have been reported. In Maravia the administrator confiscated voters cards from six Zambians who had succeeded in registering. In Zambezia 4 cases have been reported.
Comparing 2014-19 registrations
The NGO coalition JOINT has issued its observer report of the first two weeks of registration. Of 1863 posts visited, there were problems in 157 – notably delays in delivering equipment, inability to link solar panels due to lack of transformers, and the registration computers not working. JOINT notes “constant interruptions of more than an hour” because of problems, and also lack of delivery of materials such a printer toner.
Of the 1863 posts visited, there were Frelimo party monitors in 1150 and Renamo in 684.
JOINT also publishes a set of registration tables for 2014 general elections and 2018 municipal elections to compare with the current registration. Cabo Delgado which is high this year was above 100% of expected in both 2014 and 2018. Gaza which is also high this year was only 87% in 2014 but 117% last year. The full report is on http://joint.org.mz/public/assets/documentos/dd7c362925ca9007d88ee364df7bd99c.pdf
Observers still without credentials
After the first two weeks of registration, many civil society observers still did not have credentials which was impeding observation, confirms EISA (Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa) in its second weekly report, available on https://www.eisa.org.za/pdf/moz2019review2.pdf It blames excessive bureaucracy, a demand for unnecessary documents, and rules so unclear that there is disagreement within a province as to what they are.
In Maputo, an application was not accepted because the person who signed it for the civil society organisation was not recognised. In Nampula most observers were not allowed into registration posts because districts did not recognise the A4 paper credential issued at provincial level. But in Inassunge, Zambezia, an observer was detained by the police because they had a proper plastic observer identify card and not the A4 paper document.
Brigade members cannot have Renamo friends
In Chemba, Sofala, a registration brigade member was dismissed on 22 April because he had lunch in the house of a Renamo member. Paulo Joao was doing data input at the Nhandula post. Local STAE director David Tungane confirmed to this Bulletin that Joåo was dismissed because of “his links with a Renamo member”.
By Joseph HanlonSource: Mozambique Political Process Bulletin
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