Maputo, 18 Oct (AIM) – The Nampula City Court has accepted part of the appeal by Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, against the results of last week’s municipal elections announced by the Nampula District Elections Commission.
According to a report on the court case in the independent paper “O Pais”, the court agreed with Renamo that there were discrepancies in the “intermediate count” announced by the District Commission at the weekend.
The court ordered the Commission to correct the data and validate the original results sheets (“editais”) presented by Renamo.
However, the court rejected the second part of the Renamo appeal concerning the alleged corruption of the computerized system used by the Commission during the count.
It is not yet clear whether the court ruling will lead to re-running the election in Nampula.
Courts elsewhere have already annulled the elections in Cuamba municipality, in the northern province of Niassa, in Chokwe, in the southern province of Gaza, and in two Maputo municipal districts, KaMpfumo and Nlhamanculo,
In Nlhamanculo, the judge said that the director of the district branch of STAE (Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat), Sergio Mucavele, “carried a total of 43 results sheets (“editais”), 42 of which were fake copies, and one original, in an unsealed A3 khaki envelope, contrary to the law” (which says that, at the end of each stage of the count, the editais and polling station minutes must be placed in a tamper-proof bag, and submitted to the next higher electoral body).
According to the report in the bulletin on the elections, published by the anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), the judge said it was also proved that, in the intermediate count, there was “repeated posting of results from the same polling station on the basis of falsified editais, in favour of the Frelimo Party, despite the protest of the opposition members”.
The judge decided to annul and order the repetition of the election in 64 Nlhamanculo polling stations because, the “defects” in the count affected “the freedom and transparency of the election”.
In Xai-Xai, the capital of Gaza province, Renamo’s complaint was rejected by both the District Elections Commission and the district court. The court dismissed the appeal on the grounds that it had not been received first by the Elections Commission. But Renamo says that when it went to submit the appeal to the Commission, it found there was nobody in the office.
The Matola District Court threw out the Renamo appeal, saying that Renamo had not provided sufficient evidence of the irregularities claimed.
Renamo says it has now submitted both the Xai-Xai and the Matola appeals to the Constitutional Council, the country’s highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law.
It is not at all clear when the repeat elections in Cuamba, Chokwe and Maputo will be held. The electoral legislation says the elections must be re-run on the second Sunday following the court decision “on a date to be fixed by the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) on the proposal of the National Elections Commission (CNE)”.
So far the CNE has said nothing about a date for the repeat elections. They will certainly be expensive since they will involve recruiting and training new staff to man hundreds of polling stations.