Parliament at loggerheads over decentralisation: Plenary session postponed - Mozambique
FILE: STAE's Felisberto Naife. [File photo: FM]
Equipment failures linked to power supply problems badly affected voter registration in Nampula, Zambezia, Sofala. This was the result of a deliberate decision by the Technical Secretariat of the Electoral Administration (STAE) Director General Felisberto Naife, claimed Fernando Mazanga, a member of the National Election Commission (CNE) appointed by Renamo.
At a press conference last week, Mazanga said he was speaking on behalf of all members of the CNE and STAE indicated by Renamo. He said STAE technicians and CNE members has both recommended that Mobile IDs (registration laptop computers) and sources of electricity should be provided by the same entity to ensure full compatibility. Mazanga accused Naife of ignoring this advice and ordering 3000 computers and power supplies separately, with the result that transformers did not match the computers. “The Director General of STAE chose to separate the Mobile IDs from the energy sources, which brought all the problems that occurred because of the incompatibilities between them,” he said.
Mazanga said he was breaking protocol to tell the public what he and his colleagues nominated by the opposition have been saying inside the CNE, but were being ignored. By law, CNE members should not appear in public to assume a political position on the electoral process.
“For the first time we are speaking to the media. We did not do it earlier because we hoped that in the debates taking place in the CNE our views would be taken into account,” Mazanga said. Renamo cannot stop irregularities because the Frelimo majority does not listen.
The Director General of the STAE has two deputy directors, appointed by Frelimo and Renamo. But, according to Mazanga, when the director general of the STAE is called by the Council of Ministers, he is not accompanied by his deputies.
“The most glaring case was on 28 May 2019, which Naife went alone to the Council of Ministers, and the spokesperson of STAE appeared in a televised debate to affirm categorically that there would be no extension of the electoral census. Yet there has been no CNE plenary to deliberate on the subject,” he said.
The opposition has called for the dismissal of Naife, but this has been rejected by the Frelimo majority, Mazanga said.
Following military action by Renamo in 2013/14, there were negotiations over the structure of electoral bodies. Renamo wanted parity with Frelimo on all electoral bodies, but it eventually accepted representatives in proportion to seats in parliament, which gives Frelimo an automatic majority.
Civil society calls for a neutral, independent electoral commission such as the one in neighbouring South Africa were rejected. Renamo always wanted a politicised body that acted in secret. Renamo’s assumption was that it would be easier to make deals in secret. But it appears that all electoral deals are off.
By Joseph HanlonSource: 2019 General Elections - Mozambique Political Process Bulletin
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