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Delays In Tabulation Cause Concern In Mozambique Elections


In Mozambique, delays in the tabulation of the December 1st presidential and parliamentary elections are leading to concern. Opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama says fraud is contributing to a landslide victory for ruling party candidate Armando Guebuza. Yesterday, the head of the Commonwealth team of poll observers in the country warned that a delay in counting could lead to suspicion about the process.

Luis de Brito is the country director in Maputo, Mozambique, for EISA, the Electoral Institute for Southern Africa. He told English to Africa reporter William Eagle the counting is still going on at the provincial level; in fact, he says it started late in some areas because of the late delivery of computer software needed to tabulate the vote. However, Mr. De Brito says preliminary counting from some provinces show a large lead for the ruling party candidate. He says while there have been irregularities; he has seen no evidence of large-scale fraud. For example, he says this election has been marked by low turnout, about 40 percent, yet, it is as high as 100 percent in some provinces. However, the election observer says the lead between the two top candidates is so wide that he does not believe that fraud would be serious enough to affect the outcome of the polls.

As for allegations of computer fraud, Mr. de Brito says that the large lead for the ruling party candidate is coming from provinces that are being tabulated by hand. He says all provincial tallies will be known in about a week, while the national tally will likely be announced on December 18th.

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