Maputo, 18 Oct (AIM) – Courts in Maputo city have annulled the municipal elections held last Wednesday in two of the city’s municipal districts, KaMpfumo and Nlhamanculo.
In both districts the courts accepted the appeals by the main opposition party, Renamo, against the results announced, according to which the ruling Frelimo Party had won.
Judge Cecilia Jose, of the Nlhamanculo court, ordered the election to be re-run in 64 polling stations. She agreed with Renamo that 42 polling station result sheets (“editais”) had been falsified, and had reached the district counting room “under circumstances foreign to those demanded by law”.
So the judge ordered that “all electoral acts that took place in the 64 polling stations that were the subject of the appeal” must be repeated.
Likewise, in KaMpfumo the court annulled the elections and ordered them to be held again. KaMpfumo is in the heart of the city, and includes such densely populated neighbourhoods as Alto Mae and Malhangalene, as well as the up-market areas where much of the Mozambican elite lives, such as Polana Cimento and Sommerschield.
In both municipal districts, the judges believed there were signs of criminal activity, and ordered copies of the relevant documents sent to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
It is possible that the elections in a third municipal district, KaMabukwane, may also be annulled. The Renamo appeal against these results will be heard by a court on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, in the municipalities of Quelimane and Gurue, in the central province of Zambezia, district courts rejected appeals from Renamo and from one of the minor parties, New Democracy (ND).
In the case of Gurue, the court claimed that Renamo and the ND had not provided sufficient evidence for their claim that the results had been “manipulated”.
In Quelimane, the city court questioned the authenticity of the polling station results sheets submitted by Renamo. But the Renamo mayor of Quelimane, Manuel de Araujo, far from giving up, says he is submitting an appeal to the Constitutional Council, the country’s highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law.
On Tuesday, the former Vice-Chancellor of Maputo’s Eduardo Mondlane University, Brazao Mazula, who was the chairperson of Mozambique’s first National Elections Commission (CNE), added his voice to the chorus of condemnation of the misconduct that marked last week’s elections.
Mazula ran what were generally regarded as the cleanest elections in Mozambican history, which led the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mozambique (ONUMOZ), Aldo Ajello, to declare that the 1994 poll was “the best election ever held in Africa”.
Mazula, cited by the independent television station STV, said the municipal elections had been characterised by disorganization. “It’s disorganisation when the editais posted at the polling stations are not the same as the editais delivered to the political party monitors”, he said, “and when the number of votes cast is higher than the number of registered voters”.
Mazula did not believe that was due to any lack of experience. Instead, it was premeditated “and premeditation also means malice”.
It was not normal that so many polling station chairpersons had refused to sign the editais. That was no accident, said Mazula, but meant that these members of the polling station staff were following instructions.
The current CNE and its executive body, the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), “have less than zero credibility”, said Mazula.
He believed that the real decisions on the elections were being taken outside the official CNE and STAE. “These are the official bodies”, he said, “but it seems that the real CNE is outside, where there is a real CNE and a real STAE. These are the ones whose orders are carried out – orders such as ‘don’t sign the editais, don’t hand over the editais’”.