Maputo, 20 Oct (AIM) – The district court in the southern Mozambican city of Matola on Thursday ordered a recount of the votes cast in last week’s municipal election.
The court thus accepted an appeal against the official results of the “intermediate count” in Matola lodged by the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).
The court, in a brief ruling, ordered a recount in every polling station in what is now the largest city in Mozambique, in terms of population.
The MDM does not expect to win in the recount. The MDM election agent, Renato Muelega, told the independent television station STV that the party accepts it came third – but with many more votes than the Matola District Elections Commission had given it.
The “intermediate count” gave the MDM 13,000 votes – but, according to the MDM’s own parallel count, in reality it won around 30,000 votes.
“This means that something like 17,000 votes were taken from us”, said Muelega. “This is not a small amount, and it distorts the entire scenario”.
He believed a recount would show that the true winner in Matola was not the ruling Frelimo Party, but the main opposition force, Renamo. “Our struggle is for the restoration of the entire electoral truth”, he said. “The recount will not just restore the MDM’s votes. It will restore the true winner, who was chosen by the voters of Matola”.
Meanwhile, the Mozambique Bar Association (OAM) has called for the resignation of the chairperson of the National Elections Commission (CNE), Bishop Carlos Matsinhe, and his entire team.
A Thursday statement from the OAM said that Matsinhe and his colleagues “do not have the conditions to remain in office, after this whole imbroglio which has so displeased society”.
In order to avoid further manipulation of election results, the OAM expects that the Public Prosecutor’s Office will investigate the authors of the electoral crimes that have come to light in the district courts, “thus avoiding the perpetuation of a culture of tolerance, and of social excuses for such acts which have long been rooted in our society, damaging the consolidation of democracy”.
The OAM was pleased that district courts had acted in good time, arguing that “the judicial power is the last bulwark of citizenship”.
Court decisions to annul the elections in parts of the country, it added, “show beyond doubt that there was a prior conspiracy to corrupt the election results”.
But not all the courts had behaved appropriately. The OAM noted that some had been imposing “rigid formalities”, which amounted to “inverting the burden of proof”.
The OAM promises to continue monitoring the final stages of the count, and to “denounce all behavior that endangers the highest values of democracy, and put the rule of law in danger”.