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Mozambique Opposition Party to Challenge Election Credibility

A woman with a child on her back casts her vote at a polling station as the country goes to the polls in Maputo, Mozambique, Oct. 15, 2014.
A woman with a child on her back casts her vote at a polling station as the country goes to the polls in Maputo, Mozambique, Oct. 15, 2014.

Attorneys for Mozambique’s main opposition RENAMO party are gathering evidence to launch a legal challenge of the credibility of the recently concluded presidential and parliamentary elections, citing “overwhelming” instances of voter irregularities, says Eduardo Namburete, the opposition party’s external affairs head.

The electoral commission has been announcing provisional results of the general election. But RENAMO will challenge the results of the poll after the electoral body announces the final outcome, according to Namburete.

Election Credibility

The election observer mission from the Southern African Development Community declared the elections to be free, fair, transparent, credible and peaceful.

But, RENAMO expressed concern the credibility of the vote was undermined by voter suppression, intimidation of its partisans, and instances of voter suppression.

“We concluded the elections were marred with irregularities; from ballot stuffing, from denial of our polling agents to playing their role at the polling stations, from denial of voters where we have enjoyed strong support from casting their vote, from the interference of the police at the polling stations, [to] destruction of ballot boxes,” said Namburete.

“There were a lot of irregularities, which we considered to be severe and can drastically change what will be expected as the will of the people. So at this moment we are gathering those evidence, to present to the authorities,” he said.

Namburete said RENAMO is disappointed in the conclusion of some of the international poll observers, who he said appeared to be in a haste to declare the elections to be credible instead of investigating the “severe” instances of voter irregularities across the country.

“The local observers [including] the Human Rights League, the Forum for Community Radios, which has more than 2,000 observers on the ground, they came publicly to say that there were a lot of irregularities, and that the elections, were not free and fair,” said Namburete.

RENAMO Critics

Some analysts say RENAMO has a track record of claiming voter irregularities and intimidation of its supporters by state security agencies anytime the party loses elections to its rival, the ruling FRELIMO party. They called for the opposition party to accept defeat, saying the elections have been declared credible by international poll observers who monitored the vote.

Namburete disagreed that RENAMO’s claims of foul play at the polls are unjustified. He said, Daviz Simango, leader of the opposition Movement for Democracy, a third party that participated in the election, also concluded the elections were not free and fair.

“This time we had civil society organization, very credible organizations like the Human Rights League, the Human Rights Commission and others they came and said there were irregularities, serious ones. So, it is not only RENAMO saying this,” said Namburete.

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