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Mozambique’s main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, has denounced alleged irregularities in the voter registration in the central province of Manica – but the provincial branch of the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE) says the claims have already been investigated and found to be untrue.
According to the Renamo provincial political delegate, Antonio Mulima, the population of the Manica district of Barue is being coerced into not voting for Renamo in the general elections scheduled for 15 October. He claimed that in some schools directors are forcing teachers, and students of voting age to join the ruling Frelimo Party.
He said that the computerised equipment used for voter registration is continually breaking down, particularly in districts such as Machaze and Vanduzi “where Renamo has the greatest number of members”.
In those same districts, Mulima alleged, tax inspectors lie in wait on the paths that lead to the voter registration posts and demand that citizens on their way to register prove that they have paid the national reconstruction tax and other taxes. “This is just to prevent people from going to the registration posts”, he claimed.
He said that attempts to prevent registration are happening “in those areas where the opposition is at its strongest. They are doing everything they can so that people don’t vote on 15 October”.
The STAE Manica provincial director, Jose Luciano, told reporters that complaints had indeed been received in some parts of the province. STAE then set up a commission, including members of all the competing political parties, and investigated. The investigation lasted for several days and could find no evidence for the irregularities claimed by Renamo.
“We followed it up”, said Luciano. “In all these places we saw nothing. Even the delegates of the political parties allocated to the registration posts did not confirm these irregularities. We produced minutes that were signed by all the parties”.
“We did indeed have some breakdowns with the machines, but everything was solved”, said Luciano. “There were problems with the electricity supply for the equipment. The technical staff responded quickly, and the problems were solved. It is not true that this is happening to prevent people from registering”.
Manica’s target is to register 452,402 voters. By Wednesday, according to STAE, the 433 registration posts in the province had registered 390,381 voters, or 86.29 per cent of the target.Source: AIM