Mozambican ruling Party FRELIMO (Mozambique Liberation Front) won 64 of 65 municipalities in highly disputed local elections in October.
- Frelimo won 64 of 65 municipalities in highly disputed local elections in October.
- Renamo said it would take to the streets if the Constitutional Council validated the disputed result.
- Five people were reported dead from riots, while others were detained incommunicado.
Mozambique’s Constitutional Council is on Friday to rule on disputed 11 October municipal elections, a judgment that could plunge the country into mass protests not long before national elections.
The secretary-general of the Constitutional Council, Dr Paulo Jose Machava, said in a short statement issued to the press on Thursday that the council would bring finality to the disputes.
The Constitutional Council finds itself in a tricky situation because district courts annulled some local election results and, in some areas, asked for recounts.
On Wednesday, Mozambique’s National Electoral Commission (CNE) handed over to the Constitutional Council all election-related material from the disputed polls.
CNE spokesperson Paulo Cuinica told the press it was then up to the Constitutional Council to decide whether the results initially announced were credible.
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At the municipal elections, the CNE declared that the ruling party, Frelimo, was victorious in 64 of the 65 municipalities.
But Renamo leader Ossufo Momado, calling the results fraudulent, said: “The mega-fraud, the manipulation of electoral results, aims to create an environment of war for President Filipe Nyusi and the Frelimo to remain in power illegitimately.”
CNE was accused of “simply copying the district election commissions’ results for 62 municipalities. But, in secret, the CNE changed three: Vilankulo, Quelimane and Matola Rio. In Vilankulo, the number of Frelimo votes increased, so it was no longer seen as a close race”.
Movimento Democrático de Moçambique, the country’s third-largest party, was declared the winner in Beira, whereas Renamo presumably received no votes.
An independent electoral observation consortium’s parallel tabulations revealed that Renamo had won five municipalities, including the capital, Maputo, and Mozambique’s largest city, Matola.
A few days after the polls, there were pockets of demonstrations countrywide in utter rejection of the announced results.
Last week in Quelimane, where Renamo claimed to have been robbed, Elias Dhlakama, the younger brother of late Renamo leader Alfonso Dlakama, said during a rally that his party could go back to the streets if the Constitutional Council validated the disputed results.
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Since the riots began, a 16-year-old boy was killed in Chire, Cabo Delgado province; a 14-year-old boy, identified as Atipo Ajuma, was killed on the street while selling “maheu” (a local non-alcoholic drink); and a 17-year-old boy was killed while hiding from the police with his father.
Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s regional director for East and Southern Africa, blamed the deaths and injuries on the police.
“The use of excessive force by the PRM, which resulted in deaths, serious injuries and the arbitrary detention of protesters and bystanders, amounts to clear violations of the country’s Constitution and international human rights obligations,” he said.
Some of the protesters have been detained, without communication with their families, since the start of the riots.
“I have three sons who were detained while they were selling in downtown Maputo. As there were many people protesting, when police arrived, they were detained with no distinction between the ones protesting and those selling. That is how my sons have been detained. Since they were detained, I have not spoken to them yet,” Ana Alberto, a mother of three detainees, told RTP, the Portuguese TV and Radio Station.
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