Mozambique News Agency


No.289, 22nd December 2004


Contents


Frelimo win huge election victory

The ruling Frelimo Party has won a crushing victory in the general elections held on 1 - 2 December, with 62 per cent of the vote, compared with its nearest rivals, Renamo, which only received 29.7 per cent. As a result, Frelimo's parliamentary representation grows from 133 to 160 seats out of a total of 250 seats in the Assembly of the Republic. Renamo gain the remaining 90 seats, a drop of 27 seats from the last elections held in 1999. None of the other 18 parties received enough votes to gain the five per cent minimum for parliamentary representation.

In the presidential election, Frelimo candidate Armando Guebuza did even better, receiving slightly more than two million votes - representing 63.7 per cent of the vote. Renamo's Afonso Dhlakama received 998,000 votes - 31.7 per cent of the vote.

The results were announced by Mozambique's National Elections Commission (CNE) on 21 December, four days later than the legal deadline of 17 December. The CNE chairperson, Rev Arao Litsuri, blamed the delay on "rain and logistical problems". However, the determining factor has been the deep distrust inside the highly politicised electoral bodies, between members appointed by the ruling Frelimo Party and those appointed by Renamo. The vote tabulation in the provinces was repeatedly delayed by Renamo boycotts and sabotage, including Renamo officials disappearing with keys to warehouses where electoral materials were stored.

Litsuri announced that 3.33 million people voted in the presidential election, and slightly fewer in the parliamentary poll. This turnout was 36.4 per cent of the registered electorate. However, this is based on the electoral register which puts the electorate at 9.1 million. This is a grossly inflated figure caused by duplication of names, and the lack of a system to remove from the register the names of voters who have died. A realistic figure for the true size of the electorate is 7.7 million. If this figure is used, turnout rises to a more respectable 43 per cent.

Comparing these elections to the 1999 poll, it is clear that the Frelimo vote held up reasonably well. Frelimo took 1.9 million votes this time, and two million in 1999. Guebuza won two million votes in 2004, and the current president, Joaquim Chissano, won 2.3 million in 1999.

However, the Renamo vote has collapsed - from 1.6 million in 1999 to just over 900,000 now. The fall in Dhlakama's own vote is even more striking - it has halved, falling from 2.1 million in 1999 to 998,000 in 2004.

The low turnout is largely a Renamo phenomenon, with its supporters failing to go to the polling stations. Frelimo mobilised its core votes, Renamo did not.

 

Election results in detail


Presidential election

 

 
Votes
Per cent
Number who voted
3,329,177
Number of valid votes
3,144,168
94.44

Blank votes

96,684
2.91
Invalid votes
81,315
2.65
 
Candidates
 
Armando Guebuza (Frelimo)
2,004,226
63.74
Afonso Dhlakama (Renamo)
998,059
31.74
Raul Domingos (PDD)
85,815
2.73
Yaqub Sibindy (PIMO)
28,656
0.91
Carlos Reis (MBG)
27,412
0.87

 

Parliamentary election

 

Number who voted

3,321,926
Number of valid votes
3,045,429
91.68

Blank votes

166,540
5.01

Invalid votes

109,957
3.31
 
Parties    

Frelimo

1,889,054
62.03

Renamo

905,289
29.73

Party of Peace, Democracy and Development (PDD)

60,758
2.00

Party of Liberty and Solidarity (PAZS)

20,686
0.88

National Reconciliation Party (PARENA)

18,220
0.60

Independent Party (PIMO)

17,960
0.59

Social Broadening Party (PASOMO)

15,740
0.52

Labour Party (PT)

14,242
0.47

Social Liberal Party (SOL)

13,915
0.46

Ecological Party-Land Movement

12,985
0.40

Movement for Change and Good Governance (MBG)

11,059
0.36

Democratic Union (UD)

10,310
0.34

Greens of Mozambique (PVM)

9,950
0.33

Liberal and Democratic Party (PALMO)

9,263
0.30

Democratic Reconciliation Party (PAREDE)

9,026
0.30

Mozambique Salvation Union (USAMO)

8,661
0.29

Broad Opposition Front (FAO)

7,591
0.25

Democratic and Liberal Party (PADELIMO)

3,720
0.12

United Congress of Democrats (CDU)

1,252
0.04
Popular Democratic Party (PPD)
448
0.01

 

 

To obtain seats in parliament, a party must have at least five per cent of the national vote. Only Frelimo and Renamo meet this requirement, and the seats in the future parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, will be divided as follows (the figures for the parliament elected in 1999 are given in brackets):


Province
Seats
Frelimo
Renamo
Niassa
12 (13)
9 (6)
3 (7)
Cabo Delgado
22 (22)
18 (16)
4 (6)
Nampula
50 (50)
27 (24)
23 (26)
Zambezia
48 (49)
19 (15)
29 (34)
Tete
18 (18)
14 (8)
4 (10)
Manica
14 (15)
7 (5)
7 (10)
Sofala
22 (21)
6 (4)
18 (17)
Inhambane
16 (17)
15 (13)
1 (4)

Gaza

17 (16)
17 (16)
0 (0)

Maputo province

13 (13)
12 (12)
1 (1)
Maputo city
16 (16)
14 (14)
2 (2)
Emigrants
Africa
1 (-)
1 (-)
0 (-)
Europe
1 (-)
1 (-)
0 (-)
Total
250 (250)
160 (133)
90 (117)

 

 

Fraud fails to affect overall result

The statement read by Litsuri said nothing at all about the well-proven incidents of fraud, mainly in the province of Tete, where dozens of polling stations claimed impossible turnouts of 90 per cent, 100 per cent, or in some cases more than 100 per cent. In the vast majority of such cases, the beneficiary of the fraud was Frelimo - though there is one case in which the beneficiary was Renamo.

But these abuses were on far too small a scale to affect the result. All the votes in these tainted polling stations could be transferred to Renamo, and it would make no difference apart from giving Renamo a couple of extra parliamentary seats. Guebuza would still be the next president, and Frelimo's parliamentary majority would still be impregnable.

The eight Renamo-appointed members of the CNE all boycotted the announcement of the results, and refused to sign the minutes of a CNE meeting on the subject.

The only Renamo member present at the ceremony was Dhlakama's election agent, Francisco Machambisse, who told reporters "these were the worst elections ever held in Mozambique". His main complaint was of police harassment of Renamo polling agents during the two voting days. "So many people were arrested!", he exclaimed.

The police say that only 14 people were arrested in the entire country on 1-2 December, for illegal campaigning at the polling stations and other electoral offences. Observer groups, however, confirm some police harassment of Renamo polling agents, notably in the northern district of Angoche. However, the vast majority of Renamo polling agents signed polling station minutes and spent the night of 1 December beside the ballot boxes.

Machambisse said he did not know what Renamo would do next. The party's top leadership would meet, and discuss all the documents received from the CNE, he said.

The likelihood of Renamo accepting the results is minimal, since Dhlakama, over a week ago, demanded that these elections be scrapped and new ones be held.

Frelimo has dismissed such calls as the sour grapes of a bad loser. Overjoyed at the scale of its victory, Frelimo celebrated by throwing a party at its Central Committee headquarters in Maputo.

Observers accept result but point to irregularities

The irregularities that marred the elections "do not deprive the elections of their merit, nor do they change the final results", declared Brazao Mazula, spokesperson of the most representative group of Mozambican observers, the Electoral Observatory, at a press conference on 21 December.

The Observatory, which is an alliance of seven religious bodies and NGOs, including the Christian Council, the Catholic Bishops Conference, the Islamic Council, and the Human Rights League, undertook a parallel count, using a sample of 765 polling stations, chosen to be representative of the entire country.

Mazula, who is also Vice-Chancellor of Maputo's Eduardo Mondlane University, and chaired the country's first elections commission, in 1994, confirmed that the sample count indicated an overwhelming victory for the ruling Frelimo Party and its presidential candidate, Armando Guebuza.

The Observatory's count indicated that Guebuza had 63 per cent of the presidential vote, with his nearest rival, Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the former rebel movement Renamo, taking only 32 per cent. In the parliamentary election, the Observatory count projected Frelimo to win 60 per cent, and Renamo 29 per cent.

Mazula pointed to serious difficulties with the computer software used by the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), the electoral branch of the civil service.

The software was approved and inspected late, and was plagued with technical problems. But this could have no impact on the Observatory's parallel count, which was based on the results sheets, fixed on polling station walls and noted by some of the 1,550 observers which the Observatory put into the field.

Mazula also criticised continuing problems with the voters' roll. Some polling stations had the wrong voters' registers, and at others voters, although they had a valid voter's card, could not find their names in the register.

He criticised the location of some stations which forced voters to walk for long distances, and the fact that, due to logistical problems, there were other stations did not open until the second day of voting (and, according to the electoral bodies themselves, 43 did not open at all).

Asked about the dozens of polling stations with impossibly high turnouts of over 90 per cent (and, in some cases, over 100 per cent), particularly in the western province of Tete, Mazula said "It's legitimate to protest against this irregularity, and take it to the Constitutional Council, which has the power to investigate".

Correcting such irregularities (which could cost Renamo two or three parliamentary seats in Tete) "should be done in accordance with the law and by the institutions", said Mazula.

He confirmed that one of the observers from the Human Rights League, Julio Kulengo, had been detained for several days in the Tete district of Zumbo.

The problem was one of accreditation. The Tete provincial elections commission (CPE) "delayed in giving credentials to observers". So Kulengo went to Zumbo with a paper credential stating that he was a bona fide observer, but without the plastic badge that all observers are supposed to carry.

Mazula said the Zumbo district administrator claimed the credential was a forgery, and ordered Kulengo's detention. When the Observatory discovered he was under arrest, it contacted the provincial attorney's office in Tete city, which ordered his release.

Mazula said the Observatory concluded that "the process could have been more transparent", but believed that the irregularities detected did not change the final outcome.

He called on all parties not to react violently to the official results. Those who disagreed with the results had the opportunity to protest to the Constitutional Council.

The Observatory regarded demonstrations - whether of joy or of protest - as a constitutional right, but insisted that they should not degenerate into violence or bloodshed.

EU observers condemn irregularities

The head of the European Union Election Observation Mission to Mozambique, Javier Pomes, on 20 December severely condemned "the irregularities, some of them serious", that marred the elections. Addressing a Maputo press conference, Pomes laid much of the blame at the door of the National Elections Commission (CNE).

He was scathing about the CNE's performance. "The CNE had the time to do better", Pomes said. "It had the money, the resources and the advisors to do better. But it didn't use the time, the resources and the advice properly".

Of the irregularities listed by the EU mission, the worst is the significant number of polling stations that recorded impossibly high turnouts of over 90 per cent, and in some cases over 100 percent. "The electoral bodies have enough data on this", he said. "They know about the polling stations with over 100 per cent turnout, where all the votes go to the same candidate".

Pomes declined to describe this as "fraud", though there seems no other word appropriate to describe such obvious ballot box stuffing.

The EU statement distributed at the conference noted "Given the low voter turn-out figures in the rest of the country, the high turn-out figures in these regions were particularly surprising, especially bearing in mind that these polling stations had voter lists dating from 1999, which contain the names of deceased persons (estimated at more than 10 per cent)".

Asked by AIM what he thought could be done about such polling stations, Pomes said there were two possibilities - either exclude them from the final results, or order new elections at those stations.

Pomes added that the irregularities are not on such a scale as to affect the result of the elections. This is true, in that the victory of Frelimo and Guebuza is too overwhelming to be affected by false results from 100 or so polling stations. But the abuses in Changara and parts of other Tete districts could affect the distribution of parliamentary seats for the province. The gross exaggeration of the Frelimo vote in Tete could be worth two, or even three parliamentary seats (although giving these seats to the opposition would scarcely dent Frelimo's huge parliamentary majority).

The EU also noted problems with the last minute computerisation. "The software did not function properly", said Pomes.

The problem most frequently noted, and claimed by the opposition as evidence of fraud, was that "the official number of polling stations did not coincide with the number of result sheets in the data base in most provinces".

This now seems the consequence of haste and error, rather than of any conspiracy. But the result, as Pomes noted, was that the correct number of polling stations had to be inserted manually.

On one key issue, the EU seems satisfied: the observers were allowed full access to vote tabulation in the provinces and centrally, which had seemed in doubt a month ago. The EU statement notes that observers "could compare samples of results taken from posted results sheets outside polling stations and in most provinces they obtained print outs of both polling station results, and records of the progress of tabulation".

Pomes said that some EU observers would remain to follow the final results, and the reaction of the Constitutional Council, the body that must validate the results, to electoral complaints. He urged the CNE and the Constitutional Council to "take seriously the issue of irregularities, so that they are then able to take the pertinent decisions".



Mozambican troops return from Burundi

Defence Minister Tobias Dai reaffirmed in Maputo on 17 December that the Mozambican government, in cooperation with other partners, will remain involved in the pacification of Burundi. He was speaking at Mavalane air base in Maputo, when he received the 228 Mozambican troops who have returned from a 15 month peace keeping mission in Burundi.

The fact that the Mozambican armed forces (FADM) could now send men on peace keeping missions elsewhere on the continent was a tribute to the gains made in ten years of peace in Mozambique, said Dai.

Three countries - Mozambique, South Africa and Ethiopia - are involved in peace keeping in Burundi. Dai believed their mission had proved successful, and was helping create in atmosphere of peace in a country previously torn apart by a violent civil conflict.

Calisto Pemba, the commander of the contingent, said that this was the first experience of its kind for the FADM, and had provided valuable lessons for future peace-keeping missions. The FADM, he added, was ready for further such challenges.

The Mozambican contingent had faced problems due to the mountainous nature of the terrain in Burundi, said Pemba, but "the determination of the FADM helped overcome all difficulties", and all members of the mission returned alive.

These troops have now been replaced by a second Mozambican contingent of about 200 men.


Cardoso murder: retrial of Anibalzinho ordered

Mozambique's Supreme Court has ordered a retrial of Anibal dos Santos Junior ("Anibalzinho"), the man who led the death squad that murdered the country's foremost investigative journalist, Carlos Cardoso, on 22 November 2000.

This does not annul the sentence of 28 years and six months that was passed against Anibalzinho, but merely suspends it. Nor does it render the original proceedings, in which Anibalzinho was tried in absentia, in any way invalid.

The Supreme Court took its decision because it disagreed with the original trial judge, Augusto Paulino, on his interpretation of a clause in the Penal Procedural Code concerning retrials of accused persons who are absent.

Anibalzinho was illicitly released from the Maputo top security jail on 1 September 2002, and so was tried in absentia. The trial lasted from mid-November 2002 until 31 January 2003. Anibalzinho was rearrested by the South African police on 30 January, and was deported to Maputo just hours after judge Paulino had delivered his sentence.

At the time, Anibalzinho's lawyer, Simeao Cuamba, requested a retrial, and Paulino turned the request down.

In a dispatch dated 10 February 2003, Paulino argued that Cuamba had shown no legal basis for a retrial. He pointed out that Anibalzinho had disappeared from prison on the eve of the trial, after all appeals against the case going to trial had failed. Anibalzinho knew full well that he faced trial for crimes that carry the maximum prison sentence. But rather than defend himself, he decided to flee the country. In such cases, Paulino said, the right to a retrial under the Penal Procedural Code does not apply - such a right could only be exercised by people tried in absentia, if they had never been jailed in the first place.

Under this argument, if Anibalzinho had been at liberty, failed to obey a summons, and was then tried in absentia, there would have been a case for a retrial.

The Supreme Court disagrees with Paulino's interpretation of this article in the Code and believes that all accused persons tried in absentia, and sentenced to jail terms of two years or more, have the right to a retrial.

Hence the Supreme Court has upheld Cuamba's appeal against Paulino's dispatch of 10 February 2003.

Although the ruling was only issued on 21 December, the Supreme Court took this decision over a week ago - i.e. before the Canadian immigration authorities ordered the deportation of Anibalzinho, who has been living in a Toronto detention centre since his second escape, on 9 May this year.


World Bank loan for rebuilding Sena Line

The World Bank signed on 16 December the final agreement with the Mozambican government to grant a loan of $110 million for improvement in the country's railway system.

Of this sum, $104.5 million are earmarked for the rebuilding of the Sena line, that links the port city of Beira to the coal mines of Moatize, in the western province of Tete, while the remaining $5.5 million are to be used for the institutional empowerment of the publicly owned Mozambican ports and rail company, CFM.

The rehabilitation of parts of the second railway in the central region, the Machipanda line, which runs from Beira to Zimbabwe, will be financed in full ($55 million) by Rites and Ircon International, the Indian consortium that won the tender to manage the Beira railway system.

Thus the total undertaking is budgeted at $165 million, to be used in the reconstruction or rehabilitation of infrastructures, the purchasing of equipment and the installation of telecommunications and security systems.

During the ceremony, both Mozambican Transport Minister Tomas Salomao and the representative of the World Bank, Michael Baxter, stressed the importance of the Sena line in the economic development of the central region of the country.


WHO donates equipment to fight against malaria

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on 10 December handed over in Maputo a donation of equipment to the "Roll Back Malaria" initiative to support the fight against this disease in Mozambique. The donation consists of a four wheel drive vehicle, a package of 14,000 mosquito nets, 10 insecticide spraying pumps, and 10 microscopes.

The WHO representative in Mozambique, Bofar Toure, said during the ceremony that "we hope that other partners will make contributions to the 'Roll Back Malaria' initiative as a means to help reduce the impact of the disease on the most vulnerable communities".

He noted that his organisation's gesture should not be taken as a final response to help the initiative cater for the most vulnerable people, but is just a signal for other partners to join in.

Toure said that this donation fulfils a promise made by the organisation's regional director, Ibrahim Samba, when he visited Mozambique to take part in the African Union summit in July last year. "He was impressed with the work done by the Mozambican initiative in the fight against malaria, and decided to give his support, and I am very happy to deliver it", said Toure.

He noted that malaria is a very serious public health problem, that calls for the involvement of all national and international partners for its eradication.


Expansion of Maputo water system

Minister of Public Works, Roberto White, on 30 November reiterated the government's commitment to reduce the water supply deficit, not only in urban centres, but even in the country's most remote rural areas.

He was speaking in Maputo's Ferroviario neighbourhood, at the ceremony laying the first stone for a rehabilitation and expansion of the city's water system. The government's Water Assets and Investment Fund (FIPAG), after an international public tender, has contracted the Chinese company, the China Metallurgical Construction Corporation, to undertake the work, which will increase the city's capacity to treat water from 120,000 to 144,000 cubic metres a day.

By building a new water distribution centre in the Laulane neighbourhood, and expanding the existing one at Maxaquene, the storage capacity will rise from 150,000 to 190,000 cubic metres.

The distribution network will expand to areas in the northeast of the city so far not touched by the distribution network, making piped water available for a further 200,000 people. The project is due to be completed in 19 months.

White pointed out that, despite significant investments made over the past decade, currently only 38 per cent of Maputo's population is served by the public network.

The same network also serves the adjacent city of Matola, and the district of Boane. Currently 81,000 homes and establishments and 438 public standpipes are linked to the network, serving a total of 650,000 inhabitants in Maputo, Matola and Boane.

The Mayor of Maputo, Eneas Comiche, told the ceremony that this project showed that the City Council was complying with the manifesto on which he was elected in 2003. "Aware of the importance of water in the struggle against diseases such as cholera, we have decided to expand and improve the supply system in the north of the municipality", he said.


President Chissano calls for more aid

President Joaquim Chissano on 20 December called for further aid from the developed world to allow Mozambique to win its battle against poverty.

Speaking at the traditional end-of-year reception for the diplomatic corps, the last that he will give as head of state, President Chissano declared "Your cooperation will be crucial for attaining our objectives. An injection of further resources through Official Development Aid, or through pardoning our foreign debt, could shorten the distance that separates us from our goals. It could help speed up the pace of reducing poverty levels. It could help attain our common undertaking, the Millennium Development Goals".

President Chissano urged an end to barriers against Mozambican trade. He stressed that, if the doors of international markets were thrown open to Mozambican produce, "that could mean more resources for the economy, which will lead to greater levels of saving and investments".

Increased aid, he told the diplomats, would empower the Mozambican state so that it could "invest in infrastructures, in services and in human resources", thus turning the country into "a pole of attraction for private investment, both domestic and foreign".

President Chissano reviewed his 18 years as head of state. He noted the desperate situation in which he took power in 1986, after the country's first President, Samora Machel, had been murdered by the apartheid military in a plane crash at Mbuzini, just inside South Africa.

The country was suffering from the war of destabilisation "which had reached unequalled levels of cruelty". Fear of attack meant that people could no longer "sleep in their homes or go to their fields". On the roads, "they were either ambushed and murdered, or were the victims of land mines".

Under those circumstances peace became "a national imperative", since only with peace was there any hope of rescuing the people from their "misery and extreme poverty". So the government embarked on the peace negotiations with the apartheid-backed Renamo rebels, "in which our patience, tolerance and perseverance were tested to the limit".

"It was not easy to convince the people of the need to enter into dialogue with those who had ripped open their mothers or wives, those who had cut off lips or other parts of their victims", President Chissano added. "We explained that it was precisely because they committed such atrocities that it was necessary to speak to them, to awaken their conscience so that they would stop committing them and rejoin society".

The president said the government resisted the adoption of formulas used to solve conflicts elsewhere, insisting that Mozambican reality had to be dealt with on its own terms.

International support for the Mozambican peace negotiations, he said, "was like a catalyst - that chemical substance that speeds up reactions without interfering".

After the October 1992 peace accord with Renamo, resources had to be mobilised to rebuild the country, laying the necessary material bases for economic development. At the same time, pluralist democracy was expressed "through a frank and free debate of ideas".

Strong economic growth followed, despite the setbacks of major flooding in 2000 and 2001. "The twelve years of peace have completely changed the image of our country inside and beyond its borders", said Chissano.

Once the image had been one of "desperate, starving and displaced people", but now it was one of "rapid economic and social development".

Peace was now rooted in Mozambican culture, President Chissano argued. "To be a Mozambican is to be in favour of peace", he argued. "Any Mozambican not in favour of peace has an incomplete Mozambican identity". That was why Mozambique was always available to assist in the search for solutions to other conflicts, and why Mozambican peace keepers are currently deployed in Burundi and Sudan.

"But our best contribution remains the peace we have managed to build internally", said Chissano. "It's an example that it is possible to emerge from a war, cure the wounds, and, stone by stone, build a new day, advancing towards a more prosperous country".

2005 - year of hope

President Chissano stated that 2005 will be a year of hope, marked by the start of major projects in various areas of the country's life.

He stressed that the coming year will see work begin on bridges over the Zambezi, Limpopo, Incomati and Lugela rivers. Of these, the most important is the planned bridge over the Zambezi at Caia, which is a key part of the country's north-south highway. It should have been built over two decades ago, but the apartheid regime's war of destabilisation made it impossible to implement the initial plans.

2005 should also see a revival of the coal mining industry, as the Brazilian mining giant, Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD), begins its investment at Moatize in Tete province. At the same time, the Indian consortium, Rites and Ircon International, will press ahead with rebuilding the Sena railway, from Moatize to the port of Beira, which is crucial if coal exports are to resume on any substantial scale.

But President Chissano warned of the dangers posed to the country by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Current figures indicate that about 14.5 per cent of Mozambicans aged between 15 and 49 are HIV-positive. This situation, Chissano said, was "a national emergency", and he urged redoubled efforts in preventing the spread of the disease.


This is a condensed version of the AIM daily news service - for details contact aim@tvcabo.co.mz


Mozambique News Agency

c/o 114 Stanford Avenue Brighton BN1 6FE UK.

Tel: +44 (0) 7941 890630,

email: Mozambique News Agency


Return to index