The National Elections Commission (CNE) on 4 December announced the final results from the Mozambican municipal elections of 19 November - but all eight CNE members appointed by the main opposition party, Renamo, boycotted the ceremony.
The boycott began at about 22.30 on 3 December when the Renamo members walked out of a CNE meeting. At issue was the method of working out the final count.
AIM's sources in the electoral bodies indicate that Renamo's chronic distrust of computers sparked off the walkout. The CNE majority wanted the computers to add up the results fed in from the polling stations, while Renamo wanted to do the task manually.
This would have meant the 19 members of the CNE sitting in front of piles of polling station results sheets and doing the sums on pocket calculators. There are over 5,000 results sheets, and so such a manual count would have taken days to complete.
The CNE continued meeting without the Renamo minority, and completed its work by about 03.00 on 4 December. Technical staff then worked on the final documentation.
The results, announced by CNE chairperson Rev Arao Litsuri, confirm the overwhelming victory for the ruling Frelimo Party that had been evident on 19 November itself, from the notices stuck on the walls of the polling stations after the initial count.
Frelimo has an absolute majority in 29 of the 34 municipal assemblies, and Frelimo candidates were elected as mayor in 28 municipalities.
Renamo candidates become mayor in just five municipalities - Beira, Nacala, Angoche, Mozambique Island and Marromeu.
The most interesting situation is in Marromeu, on the south bank of the Zambezi, which has produced the first "cohabitation" in Mozambican politics - a Renamo mayor will have to work with a Frelimo-dominated municipal assembly.
The polling station count gave Frelimo complete victory in Marromeu - but by a very slender majority. In the mayoral election Frelimo was ahead by just 12 votes. The CNE overturned this majority when it reclassified the votes declared invalid at the polling stations. It found that enough of these expressed a clear preference to turn a narrow Frelimo victory into a narrow Renamo one.
The official results are a disaster for minor parties and independent groups, which were almost wiped off the map, thus confirming the bipolarisation of Mozambican politics. The minor parties and independents won just seven seats in the municipal assemblies (story page 2).
Five of these went to "Juntos pela Cidade" (JPC - Together for the City) in Maputo. This was a poor showing - in the assembly elected in 1998, JPC had been the main opposition, and held 15 seats. In these elections it was overtaken by Renamo (which boycotted the 1998 poll).
One seat went to the "Union for Change" group in Gurue, in the central province of Zambezia, while the independent "United for the Island" group picked up a seat in Mozambique Island. Everywhere else, the municipal assemblies contain only Frelimo and Renamo members.
In three municipalities - Xai-Xai, Chokwe and Manjacaze, all in southern Gaza province - Frelimo's hegemony is so total that Renamo did not win a single seat.
The CNE also considered a series of protests. Perhaps the most serious came from the independent candidates in Mozambique Island and Angoche. In both cases, the symbol of the candidates had been left off the ballot papers.
The CNE admitted that the STAE (Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat) offices in Maputo received the symbols. Somehow they disappeared before ballot papers were designed and printed. This was indeed "an irregularity".
But the two groups of independents had campaigned, and the photo of their mayoral candidates had appeared on the ballot papers, and so the CNE concluded that the omission did not significantly affect the results.
The other complaints all came from Renamo, and were all rejected, often because Renamo provided no proof.
Thus Renamo claimed there had been intimidatory police activity in the northern town of Cuamba, starting on the eve of the election, but produced no concrete cases and no evidence as to how this affected the election.
In several municipalities, Renamo claimed that the electoral registers contained the names of people who were not resident in the municipalities. The CNE pointed out that such an irregularity should have been protested at the time of voter registration, not during the election itself.
The presumption that polling station staff work on is that, if somebody is on the register, then they have the right to vote. Furthermore, none of the Renamo polling station agents protested that any person voting was not entitled to vote.
This is the most serious problem that Renamo faces - its own people at the polling stations did not detect the irregularities it later claimed. Yet all such protests should be made, in the first instance, at the polling stations.
One Renamo complaint concerned events that happened over a week after the election. Voter cards were found dumped in a river in Nampula on 28 November. The CNE accepted that this looked like a violation of the electoral law, but failed to see how an event on 28 November could affect the outcome of an election on 19 November.
Despite the CNE's detailed reply to all of its complaints, Renamo has announced that it will appeal to the Constitutional Council, the body that must validate the results, and has the final say in electoral disputes.
Although the Renamo CNE members boycotted the ceremony, Renamo election agent Manuel Frank was present, and insisted that, in those municipalities where Renamo had lodged protests, Renamo would not accept the results.
He assured AIM that in the other municipalities Renamo did accept the results. This position is quite different from that of Renamo general secretary Viana Magalhaes, who, earlier in the day, rejected the entire elections.
The Renamo protests cover 11 municipalities, two of which it won. So if Frank is to be believed Renamo is accepting the results in the other 22 municipalities.
One of the Frelimo representatives at the ceremony, former justice minister Aly Dauto, told AIM "Renamo hasn't got a shred of proof. One of their complaints is about Marromeu. Yet when the CNE reclassified the Marromeu votes they gave victory to the Renamo candidate. This just shows how serious the work done by the CNE was".
As for the frequent Renamo claim that it is "illegal" to involve STAE in reclassifying the votes declared invalid at the polling stations, Dauto pointed out that "STAE is a body run by the CNE. And because of Renamo pressure, there are STAE technicians who were appointed by Renamo. It was the technicians from Renamo and Frelimo who did the reclassifying".
Five days past the legal deadline, the CNE on 9 December published the full results from the municipal elections.
Even these results cannot be considered "final" because the CNE has not yet calculated how many seats each of the contending forces has won in the municipal assemblies.
The results posted by the CNE also dispel the myth about abstention in this elections. There was not an abysmally low turnout across the country - in fact in several northern municipalities the turnout was over 50 per cent, reaching a remarkable 62.51 per cent in Mocimboa da Praia.
The average turnout was pulled down by some indisputably poor showings in the south - 20.8 per cent in Matola, 21.55 per cent in Maputo, and 17.31 per cent in Maxixe. But the lowest turnout was an anomalous 11.17 per cent inthe western town of Moatize.
The results as published are as follows:
Cabo Delgado Province
Registered voters: 57,250
Turnout: 20, 700 (36.16%)
Agostinho Ntuali (Frelimo) 10,230 (69.82%)
Mussa Incacha (Renamo) 4,421 (30.18%)
Fabiao Namiva (Independent) 650 (4.44%)
Registered voters: 33,197
Turnout: 19,845 (59.78%)
Rafael Correia (Frelimo) 8,589 (79.80%)
Luis Culaire (Renamo) 2,174 (20.20%)
Mocimboa da Praia
Registered voters: 16,579
Turnout: 10,364 (62.51%)
Cassimo Abdala (Frelimo) 3,516 (51.07%)
Jaide Assane (Renamo) 3,319 (48.93%)
Registered voters: 54,405
Turnout: 23,113 (42.48%)
Cristiano Taimo (Frelimo) 9,332 (69.02%)
Mario Naula (Renamo) 4,149 (30.98%)
Registered voters: 41,588
Turnout: 8,514 (20.47%)
Teodosio Uatata (Frelimo) 3.723 (61.87%)
Maria Moreno (Renamo) 2,294 (38.13%)
Registered voters: 5,278
Turnout: 1,706 (32.32%)
Anafe Achimo (Frelimo) 1,330 (88.96%)
Orlando Esquadro (Renamo) 165 (11.04%)
Registered voters: 195,150
Turnout: 41,845 (21.44%)
Castro Namuaca (Frelimo) 14,938 (57.09%)
Luis Mecupia (Renamo) 11,229 (42.91%)
Registered voters: 44,242
Turnout: 26,723 (60.40%)
Alberto Assane (Renamo) 7,195 (52.60%)
Jose Constantino (Frelimo) 5,646 (41.28%)
Isidro Assane (Independent) 837 (6.12%)
Registered votes: 96,585
Turnout: 53,181 (55.06%)
Manuel Jose dos Santos (Renamo) 15,379 (57.00%)
Geraldo Caetano (Frelimo) 10,253 (38.00%)
Cesar Gabriel (Independent) 1,349 (5.00%)
Registered voters: 32,992
Turnout: 13,289 (40.28%)
Gulamo Mamudo (Renamo) 4,082 (53.10%)
Mutafite Mutirua (Frelimo) 2,543 (33.12%)
Jorge Simoes (Independent) 1,054 (13.75%)
Registered voters: 30,409
Turnout: 7,553 (24.84%)
Daniel Bento (Frelimo) 2,601 (50.75%)
Saturnino Macocor (Renamo) 2.524 (49.25%)
Registered voters: 89,345
Turnout: 33,624 (37.42%)
Pio Matos (Frelimo) 11,767 (52.56%)
Leopoldo Ernesto (Renamo) 9,996 (44.65%)
Venceslau Mathere (IPADE) 624 (2.79%)
Registered voters: 23,451
Turnout: 8,263 (35.24%)
Joao Bernardo (Frelimo) 3,013 (72.69%)
Luis Silva (Renamo) 947 (22.85%)
Baptista Juliao (Union for Change) 185 (4.46%)
Registered voters: 35,759
Turnout: 10,527 (29.44%)
Rogerio Gaspar (Frelimo) 4,428 (75.28%)
Jose Manteigas (Renamo) 1,454 (24.72%)
Registered voters: 11,930
Turnout: 3,104 (26.02%)
Loborino Alamane (Frelimo) 1,780 (73.18%)
Lourenco Impissa (Renamo) 636 (26.32%)
Registered voters: 65,752
Turnout: 16,294 (24.78%)
Cesar de Carvalho (Frelimo) 15,688 (75.08%)
Jose Caloamba (Renamo) 5,207 (24.92%)
Registered voters: 16,975
Turnout: 1,896 (11.17%)
Cassiano Marcelino (Frelimo) 4,660 (73.66%)
Fabiao Bjingue (Renamo) 1,666 (26.34%)
Registered voters: 104,352
Turnout: 23,593 (22.61%)
Alberto Sarande (Frelimo) 13,660 (60.21%)
Pedro Siavaca (Renamo) 9,028 (39.79%)
Registered voters: 8,800
Turnout: 3,103 (35.26%)
Eusebio Gondiwa (Frelimo) 2,320 (78.83%)
Verediano Manivete (Renamo) 623 (21.17%)
Registered voters: 14,635
Turnout: 4,534 (30.98%)
Moguene Candeeiro (Frelimo) 3,550 (80.94%)
Jose Nicolau (Renamo) 836 (19.06%)
Registered voters: 17,104
Turnout: 4,388 (25.65%)
Joao Agostinho (Renamo) 1,957 (50.01%)
Alberto Joaquim (Frelimo) 1,956 (49.99%)
Registered voters: 215,325
Turnout: 57,553 (26.73%)
Daviz Simango (Renamo) 29,610 (53.45%)
Djalma Lourenco (Frelimo) 23,405 (42.23%)
Antonio Romao (IPADE) 1,451 (2.62%)
Pedro Langa (PIMO) 956 (1.72%)
Registered voters: 38,635
Turnout: 11,417 (29.55%)
Manuel Cambezo (Frelimo) 6,641 (61.61%)
Joaquim Greva (Renamo) 3,478 (32.27%)
Matias Traquino (IPADE) 660 (6.12%)
Registered voters: 30,672
Turnout: 7,719 (25.17%)
Lourenco Macul (Frelimo) 6,125 (83.37%)
Francisco Manuel (Renamo) 693 (9.43%)
Aida Chicalia (Independent) 358 (4.87%)
Jose Pagula (IPADE) 171 (2.33%)
Registered voters: 50,214
Turnout: 8,694 (17.31%)
Narciso Pedro (Frelimo) 6,970 (87.94%)
Manuel Manhique (Renamo) 956 (12.06%)
Registered voters: 16,370
Turnout: 3,921 (23.95%)
Sulemane Amugi (Frelimo) 3,220 (89.12%)
Manuel Gulucha (Renamo) 393 (10.88%)
Registered voters: 55,067
Turnout: 20,037 (36.39%)
Ernesto Mausse (Frelimo) 18,085 (95.43%)
Domingos Machel (Renamo) 867 (4.57%)
Registered voters: 35,123
Turnout: 11,291 (32.15%)
Jorge Macuacua (Frelimo) 10,250 (95.92%)
Angelo Cuna (Renamo) 436 (4.08%)
Registered voters: 31,336
Turnout: 11,001 (35.11%)
Francisco Chichongue (Frelimo) 9,464 (94.09%)
Pedro Pelembe (Renamo) 596 (5.91%)
Registered voters: 7,679
Turnout: 2,072 (26.33%)
Casimiro Monjane (Frelimo) 1,463 (75.80%)
Idrisse Abdala (Independent) 424 (21.97%)
Aurelio Jamisse (Renamo) 43 (2.23%)
Registered voters: 26,590
Turnout: 7,443 (27.99%)
Alberto Chicuamba (Frelimo) 5,766 (86.58%)
Antonio Cavele (Renamo) 894 (13.42%)
Registered voters: 263,200
Turnout: 54,739 (20.8%)
Carlos Tembe (Maputo) 46,500 (88.46%)
Albino Mapanga (Renamo) 6,067 (11.54%)
Registered voters: 605,529
Turnout: 130,474 (21.55%)
Eneas Comiche (Frelimo) 96,035 (75.88%)
Artur Vilanculos (Renamo) 15,289 (12.08%)
Philippe Gagnaux (Independent) 12,695 (10.03%)
Carlos Jeque (IPADE) 2,543 (2.01%)
Pedro Loforte (Independent) 1,223 (0.97%)
All the above results still require validation by the Constitutional Council, the final body of appeal in all electoral matters.
The parliamentary group of the opposition Renamo-Electoral Union coalition demonstrated on 3 December afternoon outside the premises of the National Elections Commission (CNE), in protest against various alleged irregularities in the 19 November municipal elections.
The Renamo group staged a walkout from the morning's parliamentary session, claiming that "incredible things" were taking place in the CNE that needed their immediate attention.
But it was hard to find out what these "incredible things" were. When AIM phoned up a senior Renamo parliamentarian, he refused to comment other than to state that only the head of the parliamentarian group, Ossufo Quitine, or its official spokesperson, Zelma Vasconcelos, were empowered to speak about the demonstration.
Quitine gave an incoherent interview to Mozambique Television (TVM) in which he complained about directives from the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), the electoral branch of the civil service, that gave guidance as to how the tabulation of votes should be undertaken.
He did not specify his complaint, and instead launched an attack on the STAE national director, Antonio Carrasco. He said that under the electoral law, Carrasco should have been sacked and his job advertised. It was only the CNE majority (appointed by the ruling Frelimo Party) that kept Carrasco in place, he added.
Outside the CNE leading Renamo jurist, Manuel Frank claimed there had been "a large number of irregularities". He said that voters who had a valid voting card, but whose names were not on the electoral register, had been denied the right to vote. Furthermore, some of the registers had been switched to other polling stations, thus disenfranchising the people named within them.
Both these complaints refer to real problems, admitted by STAE. They were noted by observers and journalists on polling day itself, but only affected a small minority of voters. It is hard to see why, a fortnight later, they should be regarded as "incredible", and warrant a demonstration by dozens of opposition parliamentarians.
The Renamo protestors wanted to speak to CNE chairperson Rev Arao Litsuri, but found they were unable to get into the building. The gates were chained and padlocked, and all the Renamo deputies could do was hang around outside the closed gates for a couple of hours. A contingent of riot police kept at a discreet distance.
Rev Litsuri met with Quitine, Frank and three other Renamo deputies the previous day, when they had complained that the CNE was ignoring the electoral law, and merely following "instructions contrary to the law issued by Antonio Carrasco".
Cited by the weekly paper "Zambeze", Quitine denounced Litsuri as a mere instrument of Frelimo. "He doesn't interpret the law", fumed Quitine. "He is guided by instructions that violate the law".
The only such instruction he mentioned was one that ordered local election bodies to send the results from each polling station to Maputo by fax. Quitine said this is not envisaged in the election law. In the narrow sense he is right - the law does not specify any particular method for sending the results to Maputo.
The decision to use a speedy method was taken, not by Carrasco, but by the CNE, and AIM's sources say that was a consensual decision of the entire CNE.
Quitine also produced a fantastic story according to which Frelimo had gone round buying up voter cards in "areas under Renamo influence" in Nampula city, and the local STAE director Isabel Tirano "gave orders to her driver to burn the cards or throw them in the river".
Renamo insists that the CNE should not release the final results from the municipal elections until it has dealt with all the Renamo complaints.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Joao Carrilho said in Maputo on 4 December that the second phase of the Mozambique's National Agriculture Development Programme (PROAGRI), due to start in 2005, is to seek better results, targeting the rural areas, and focusing on alleviating poverty.
Carrilho was speaking at the opening session of a joint meeting between his ministry and its international partners, called to draw up a balance sheet of the first phase of the programme, that has been under way since 1999, with a budget of $202 million.
The first stage was particularly aimed at institutional capacity building, with little technical assistance given to the agricultural producers. "With PROAGRI 1, we think that the institutional empowerment of the Agriculture Ministry, and decentralisation have been achieved, but impact on rural production is still limited", Carrilho said.
A preliminary assessment shows that "PROAGRI 1 has some shortfalls in its targets, this being why the second phase cannot yet be launched", he added, insisting that PROAGRI 2 should pay more attention to rural development, poverty relief, and improved management of natural resources.
Speaking on the same occasion, Fernando Songane, of the PROAGRI implementation committee, told AIM that although it faced some shortcomings initially, the programme is unfolding satisfactorily.
"We started in 1999/2000, a year when there were no funds disbursed by our partners. We had to work on the projects we already had until the first disbursements came, in 2001", he aid.
He said that the international partners were demanding that procedures be harmonised before they would release any funds. The Agriculture Ministry was not to continue functioning in the old fashion, where each donor would set his own rules. The programme used $24.1 million during the first year, $36.8 million in the second, $31.9 million in the third, and $33.7 million in the fourth year. $40 million is scheduled for the fifth year of implementation. In other words, PROAGRI 1 will fall well short of the original target of $202 million.
Songane described the results of PROAGRI 1 as "positive", saying that although the impact is not showing much in the rural areas, one can feel it, for instance in cattle restocking. "If we go to the rural areas, we will find that restocking programmes had a positive impact", he said.
He also noted an improvement in veterinary assistance, and a reduction in livestock mortality, which has contributed to the growth in the number of animals. As another achievement, Songane mentioned the control of agricultural pests.
As a particular achievement to the benefit of the producers, he noted the reduction in the time necessary to apply for and receive land tenure titles from between two to three years, to just a few days.
On the management of natural resources, he said that there are about 50 community initiatives across the country, where local residents oversee the use of forests and wildlife.
The Mozambican government and the second mobile phone operator in the country, Vodacom Mocambique (VM), on 3 December signed the contract formalising the Vodacom promise to make direct foreign investment of $567 million in the next ten years.
VM is a joint venture between the South African mobile phone company Vodacom (with 98 per cent of the shares) and Mozambican investors in the company EMOTEL (with two per cent). The public face of EMOTEL is prominent Mozambican businessman, and parliamentary deputy for the ruling Frelimo Party, Hermenegildo Gamito, who becomes chairman of the VM board.
VM will be competing against the country's pioneer mobile phone company, mCel, which is 100 per cent owned by the Mozambican public sector fixed phone operator, TDM. Signing the Wednesday contract were Transport and communications Minister Tomas Salomao, and the VM managing director Clive Starr.
Salomao said that the signing ceremony was the last major step before VM starts its commercial operations. He added that the figure of $567 million includes the $15 million paid by Vodacom for its licence.
The rest of the money breaks down into $442 million for equipment, $25 million as a fund for operating expenses, $32 million for staff training, $50 million for hiring specialists to assemble VM equipment, and $1.2 million for franchising. Salomao claimed that the entry of a second mobile phone operator into the Mozambican market would increase the dynamism of the telecommunications sector, which would be "without doubt a very important contribution to the growth of the Mozambican and South African economies".
Starr told reporters that Vodacom is determined to start its services before the end of the year. He said it would offer the same range of services that are available in South Africa, plus unspecified "new products".
Currently, mCel has 400,000 clients and covers all Mozambique's main urban and tourist centres, and the major highways - including deep into South Africa. Vodacom plans to start its operations in the Maputo/Matola complex, the roads to Swaziland and South Africa, parts of the southern province of Gaza (Xai-Xai and Bilene), and the northern city of Nampula.
Minister for Women's Affairs and Social Welfare, Virgilia Matabele, on 1 December challenged all Mozambican citizens to visit the Counselling and Voluntary Testing Centres to find out their HIV status.
Speaking at a rally in the Maputo suburb of Hulene, held to mark World AIDS Day, Matabele declared "I call on all of you to go to the Voluntary Testing Centres, because in this way we will be helping to control the disease".
She added that the government is working to extend the programme to halt mother-to-child HIV infections into the rural areas. The anti-retroviral drug nevirapine is used to prevent infected mothers from passing HIV on to their unborn babies, but it has so far only been available in the major cities.
Matabele said that, despite all the efforts made to control HIV/AIDS, the situation in Mozambique is continuing to worsen. The figures were "frightening", and she called for "a profound and open reflection by all Mozambicans, particularly young Mozambicans".
The latest Ministry of Health statistics show that 13.6 per cent of Mozambicans aged between 15 and 49 are HIV-positive. The epidemic is at its worst in the central provinces with an infection rate of 16.7 per cent. The southern provinces are not far behind, with an HIV prevalence rate of 14.8 per cent. The situation is rather better in the three northern provinces of Niassa, Nampula and Cabo Delgado, where the infection rate is 8.4 per cent. The Minister expressed her fears that the situation will worsen still further, if Mozambicans remain resistant to changing their sexual behaviour, and uphold taboos about sexuality.
Prior to the rally, several hundred people marched through the streets of central Maputo, calling for increased measures to combat AIDS.
Speaking in the northern city of Nampula, President Joaquim Chissano warned that, despite all efforts at prevention, rates of infection with HIV are rising "in a frightening way".
President Chissano, who was speaking at commemorations of World AIDS Day, noted that current statistics indicate that one in every six adult Mozambican is HIV-positive. "This means that many children will cease to have access to school, because their teachers have died", he said. "Many sick people will have no access to health care because of the deaths of doctors and nurses. Agriculture and industry will be affected because the necessary labour will cease to exist".
Already AIDS was beginning "to destroy the socio-economic fabric", the President said, stressing in particular the plight of children who are obliged to look after their sick parents, to care for younger siblings, and to become the family breadwinners, which forces them to drop out of school.
Because of AIDS, there were now about half a million orphans and vulnerable children in the country. "The future of an entire generation is at stake, and this leads us to view the disease as a national emergency", said President Chissano.
Nonetheless, President Chissano thought Mozambicans could feel encouraged by the "greater commitment" shown recently by the international community, and by the Mozambican private sector, "in making more resources available to fight against this disease".
There was new hope for HIV sufferers, since anti-retroviral drugs are now available in Mozambique "which, although they do not cure the disease, allow people to prolong their lives".
"Let us regard HIV/AIDS as my problem, your problem, our problem", President Chissano said. "Let us unite in strengthening preventive measures, such as sexual abstinence, mutual fidelity between partners, delaying the onset of sexual activity in adolescents, and using condoms in casual sexual relations".
The Japanese government has formally granted $9 million to Mozambique for the building of a bridge over the Zambezi river, linking the central provinces of Sofala and Zambezia at the district of Caia.
An agreement to that end was signed in Maputo on 21 November between the Japanese Ambassador, Kanji Tsushima, and Mozambique's Deputy Foreign Minister. Frances Rodrigues.
Rodrigues said that other partners of the Mozambican government, namely Italy and Sweden, have pledged a contribution of $25 million each for this undertaking. She said that negotiations are still under way with the European Commission to provide the remainder of the estimated cost of $80 million.
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