Maputo, 18 Dec (AIM) – The courts in Gurue and Marromeu districts have admitted that there are signs that criminal activities occurred during the repeat municipal elections held on 10 December – but despite this they rejected the appeals by opposition parties against the fraudulent results from those elections.
According to the latest issue of the bulletin on the elections issued by the anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity, the main opposition party, Renamo, did not present enough evidence to support its contention that the voter rolls had been corrupted.
The court added that “there is no object for appeal in the case of the intermediate count”. However, that count was clearly illegal. The minutes from the district, or intermediate count say it took place between 05.00 and 05.20 on the morning of 11 December.
The main opposition party in Gurué, New Democracy (ND), said that the political parties were only invited to the count at 08.00, and at that time they were simply given the overall results sheet, without any indication of the results polling station by polling station.
The electoral law is clear (Law 14/2018, article 110). The results are centralised by the assemblies of vote, and the agents of the political parties can be present. Furthermore, during the count the parties’ election agents can make claims and protests, which should be considered at this meeting by the District Elections Commission. This decision may be appealed to the courts.
Since it was not informed of the count, which took place before dawn that morning, the ND was illegally prevented from presenting protests against fraudulent activities.
Rather than taking any action itself against such blatant illegalities, the Gurue district court simply referred the matter to the Public Prosecutor’s Office. So copies of the opposition appeals, and their supporting documents will be forwaded to the public prosecutor.
During the count of the votes at the Gurue polling stations, on the night of 10 December, the local police commander ordered the detention of the Renamo-appointed deputy head of the STAE Department of Election Organisation and Operations, Agostinho Morgado.
Morgado is now taking legal action against the commander, accusing him of detaining him without an arrest warrant and without any explanation.
The commander ordered another police office to take from Morgado his belongings such as his identification badge, his reflecting vest bearing the CNE/STAE stamp, the STAE notepad, pen, cell phone, charger and wallet of documents. He was then kept in a police cell until after the polling staton count had finished.
As for Marromeu, the Court claimed that all the minutes and result sheets (“editais”) were duly signed by the members of the assembly of votes. Hence, there were no grounds for the Renamo request to annul the results at 18 polling stations.
This was not the opimnion of observers. The “Mais Integridade” (“More Integrity”) observer consortium issued a statement that the fraud in Marromeu was so serious that it was impossible to know who won.
As in Gurue, so in Marromeu, the court threw the ball into the court of the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
No result from Gurue or Marromeu can be announced until validated by the Constitutional Council, the country’s highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law. No date has yet been fixed for the Council to give its verdict on the repeat municipal elections.