Africa

Mozambique Opposition Claims ‘Mega Fraud’ After Election Rout

By Bloomberg 21 October 2019
Caption
RENAMO supporters march through the streets during a party rally in the run-up to municipal elections in Gorongosa village, Sofala Province, Mozambique, 04 October 2018. EPA-EFE/YESHIEL PANCHIA

Mozambique’s main opposition party described the country’s Oct. 15 elections as a “mega fraud” and called on the population to reject the results that showed the ruling party was set for a landslide victory.

Renamo has claimed last week’s vote was rigged and called for it to be nullified. The preliminary results of two-thirds of the ballots counted show President Filipe Nyusi leading with 75%, while Renamo obtained 20% support — much less than expected. Renamo, short for the Mozambican National Resistance, fought a 16-year civil war against the government until 1992.

Renamo’s political commission resolved at a meeting on Monday to “urge all Mozambicans not to accept mega electoral fraud,” party President Ossufo Momade told reporters in the capital, Maputo, after the meeting. He listed of instances where he claimed his party had been disadvantaged, including the alleged murder of its members and social activists, voter register discrepancies and irregularities with the counting process.

At stake is control over an economy that’s expected to become one of the world’s biggest exporters of liquefied natural gas, as companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Total SA plan projects of more than $50 billion in the country’s northern region.

The elections were seen as a test of a peace deal Nyusi signed with Momade in August. The government has violated the agreement, and the ruling Frelimo party “is clearly demonstrating it does not want peace,” the opposition said on Saturday. Momade didn’t address the peace deal when he spoke to reporters after the political commission meeting.

Renamo, which has lost every multi-party election since they began in 1994, usually disputes the polls.

‘Significant Concerns’
International observer missions monitoring the campaign and voting, including the Southern African Development Community and the African Union, said the process was generally peaceful and orderly while raising concerns about voter-registration disputes. But the EU and U.S. monitors were more critical.

“The U.S. Embassy has significant concerns regarding problems and irregularities that may impact perceptions of the integrity of the electoral process,” it said in a statement Friday.

Russia welcomed Nyusi’s victory and said “no serious violations were detected” in the elections, according to a statement.

The electoral commission declined to comment on statements by political parties, with spokesman Paulo Cuinica saying there are legal channels that can be pursued.

Read more
Mozambique Opposition Rejects Poll Results as Nyusi Takes Lead
Mozambique Votes Against Backdrop of $50 Billion Gas Bonanza
Still, it’s unlikely that Renamo fighters, who clashed with the government from 2013 to 2016, will again take up arms, according to Andre Thomashausen, a lawyer who previously advised the party and helped negotiate the first peace deal that was implemented in 1994. Momade took over as head of Renamo last year after the death of long-time leader Afonso Dhlakama.

“It’s very difficult to go back to war,” he said by phone. “They’re not well-equipped anymore.”

(Updates with comment by Renamo president from first paragraph)
To contact the reporters on this story:
Borges Nhamire in Maputo at [email protected];
Matthew Hill in Maputo at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Antony Sguazzin at [email protected]
Gordon Bell, Pauline Bax

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