Electoral Chaos in Mozambique: Demonstrations, Shootings, Arrests.

Last night and today (Thursday) there were a mix of victory celebrations, violence, arrests and fatal shootings in Chiure, Nampula, Guruè and Quelimane.

Few results have been announced, but it appears that Frelimo made considerable gains in the north, while Renamo gained votes in Maputo city and province and Inhambane. Renamo and its mayoral candidate paraded in Maputo to celebrate its expected victory. Contrary to what happened in Guruè, Chiure and Nampula, in Maputo Renamo’s procession through the city passed peacefully and without police presence or interference,. This suggests an acceptance of Renamo’s growing influence.

Police shootings

Police shot at crowds in several cities. Today, Thursday12 October, in Chiure, Cabo Delgado, three Renamo supporters were shot, one of them fatally. Renamo said: “Our party member was shot by the police while celebrating the confirmation of victory in Chiure at the Renamo delegation.”

In Nampula, a child was wounded by bullets during police shooting at Renamo supporters who were celebrating their unconfirmed victory in Nampula City.

In Quelimane, the police shooting began at around 1am and only ended at around 4am. At the same time as the last shots were heard, the MDM list leader and current mayor of Quelimane, Manuel de Araujo, was arrested by the police on charges of disturbing order, but was released at around 7am. The police accuse Araujo of having gone to a polling station to disturb its normal functioning, and then to the STAE warehouses. Police took him to the police station where a criminal case was opened.

In Guruè, the police say they had to resort to firing to disperse groups who were on the public roads preventing people from travelling. The police confirm that during the shooting one person was slightly injured and there were five arrests of citizens for electoral offences, related to ballot box stuffing.

Presiding officers instructed not to sign polling station results report

In many municipalities there appear to have been “superior instructions” for the polling station presiding officers linked to the Frelimo party, telling them not to sign or post the official results sheets (editais), where the opposition had the most votes. By law editais must be posted on the polling station door. In some municipalities, including Matola and Maputo, editais were still unsigned and not posted this morning. In other municipalities, editais were vandalized and removed. As well as being illegal, it also makes it difficult for observers to do parallel counts, and easier for election officials late at night to change the results.

Ballot boxes were stuffed in several municipalities. In some cases, people were caught and arrested, including polling station presidents.

Renamo accused Frelimo of “playing dirty” in yesterday’s voting process and accused Celso Correia, the Frelimo party’s national campaign director, of intimidating political party delegates and polling station staff, pressing them to declare as invalid ballot papers in favour of Renamo and accept as valid similar ballot papers in favour of Frelimo.

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