Mozambique News Agency
Maputo, 6 Nov (AIM) – The results from last week’s general elections in the western province of Tete, show overwhelming victories for incumbent President Armando Guebuza and the ruling Frelimo Party – but also an anomalously high turnout.
The results given by the Tete Provincial Elections Commission are as follows:
These figures mean that Frelimo will take 18 of Tete’s parliamentary seats and Renamo just two.
But there is a serious problem. The provincial commission also announced that 523,827 of Tete’s 796,257 registered voters cast ballots. That is a turnout of 68.4 per cent. Yet, by AIM’s calculations, the average national turnout in these elections was around 41 per cent. The largest province, Nampula, had a turnout of 39 per cent, and in Zambezia it was a miserable 33 per cent.
Why should Tete be so different? Are people in Tete much more interested in politics than people in neighbouring Zambezia?
If we look at the Tete results, district by district, we see what has happened. In Changara district, 69754 people out of a registered electorate of 73,271 voted – an impossible turnout of 95 per cent.
Other Tete districts have suspiciously high turnouts – 80 per cent in Chiuta, 75 per cent in Maravia, 72 per cent in Macanga.
A closer look at Changara revels that some polling stations recorded a turnout of 100 per cent, with all the voters voting for Armando Guebuza.
In its sample of polling stations, the Electoral Observatory, the largest and most credible group of Mozambican election observers, included five polling stations from Changara. In three of them the results sheets claimed there was a turnout of 100 per cent, and everybody voted for Guebuza. The other two presidential candidates did not pick up a single vote.
Exactly the same thing happened in the 2004 election. There were dozens of Tete polling stations, particularly in Changara, which recorded a turnout of 100 per cent, and sometimes more than 100 per cent.
Anyone who accepts these figures as genuine is willing to believe that since the new voter registration that began in September 2007 no adults in Changara have died, that nobody was unable to vote last week because of illness, and that nobody has left the district.
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