Mozambique: Voting Starts Late, Fraud in Angoche and Irregularities On Nampula Ballots

Citizens in 53 Mozambican municipalities are voting this Wednesday (20) to choose their presidents and members of the Municipal Assemblies.

In most polling stations, the voting did not start at 7AM as planned due to organizational and logistical issues.

The morning of election day has already been marked by various reports of fraud favoring Frelimo, most frequently in the municipality of Angoche in Nampula province.

We also note a serious irregularity on the mayoral ballot in Nampula, which does not list name or the picture of Filomena Mutoropa, the candidate for the Humanitarian Party of Mozambique (PAHUMO).

The commencement of voting, although late, was marked by significant voter turnout at the polling stations, but numbers reduced as the day approached noon.

FRAUD IN ANGOCHE

Meanwhile, there were individuals who voted more than once at the five polling stations set up in the Primary School of Farlahi in Angoche.

In addition to people under the age of 18 who were coerced to vote at this polling station, according to our journalist reporting from the Primary School of Farlahi, police officers positioned to ensure security are demanding that voters leave the polling station for allegedly contesting the fact that some people are voting twice and, above all, not obeying the line.

Our reporter also reports that police backup was needed at the site in order to suppress voter agitation. Incidentally, these problems were also found to be happening at polling stations in other schools in Angoche, where our journalists have been positioned to follow the electoral process since this morning.

Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports that some community leaders from regions outside of Angoche went to exercise their right to vote at the polling stations where they were not supposed to, such as at the Primary School of Farlahi. The names of these voters who allegedly attempted to take this illegal path to vote are documented in a particular notebook designated as “Book 30”, whose meaning we were not able to confirm.

Another incident that negatively marked the voting process at the Primary School of Farlahi is in regard to the fact that Frelimo delegates are the only party representatives present at the station. They try at all costs to avert the presence of other party delegates and hinder the work of reporters.

QUELIMANE

In the city of Quelimane, where a large voter turnout has been reported, there are confirmed reports that the ink used to mark the fingers of those who have already voted is not long-lasting. At least five citizens, who had just voted, managed to clean the ink from their index fingers with little effort, which should not be possible.

Still in Quelimane, the polling stations set-up at the Primary School of Coalane opened late, as a large crowd of citizens waited to exercise their civic duty.

BEIRA

In the city of Beira, the ‘Goto Pool’ polling station has voting booths without lists of registered voters allotted to that booth. However, there was a massive turnout of voters in the early hours of the day who did not budge from the line despite a drizzle of rain.

*They do everything so that we do not vote, but today we are not leaving here until we vote,* said several young voters at polling stations in the municipality of Beira.

Rumors spreading through social media and text messages claim that the ink in polling station pens can be erased from the ballot after someone casts their vote was heightened today by several reports from STAE workers affirming that “no one could use a particular pen to vote.”

TETE

The electoral process started at 7AM in the municipality of Tete. It was reported that the polling station at the Primary School of January 3, in Azul neighborhood in Tete city, is overflowing with Frelimo pamphlets. This is considered an electoral offense because it is taking place after the period established for campaigning and may confuse the voters.

MATOLA

In spite of several polling stations opening at the appropriate time, the president of the polling station at Nkobe Secondary School is working while inebriated and the process is going slowly.

We also note that the Chairman of voting booth No. 10006501 at Kongolote Secondary School, in the city of Matola, closed the door and did not allow election observers to supervise the opening of the ballot box.

GAZA

In Chókwè, neighborhood leaders collected voter cards and registered their names, with the intent for each leader to require all citizen voters in residing in their neighborhoods to report to the voting station.

NAMPULA

There are various incidents we must report, starting with the fact that voting was interrupted at about 9AM at the polling station set-up at Inguri Primary School in the town of Angoche. This was after an ASSEMONA party delegate caught the voting booth chairman handing four ballots to a citizen, known for being a member of Frelimo, to fill out.

This issue has generated a wave of local controversy, where police arrested three people, each in possession of two identical voter cards who were preparing to vote at that polling station.

INVALID BALLOTS

Another serious problem reported thus far has to do with ballot papers having the wrong information, jeopardizing the election in the city of Nampula.

The voting ballots for mayor of the city of Nampula do not include the name of Filomena Mutoropa, the candidate of the Humanitarian Party of Mozambique (PAHUMO).

The ballot for the election of Municipal Assembly members also has an error: the PDD , Party for Peace, Democracy and Development, is written out as the Democratic Movement of Mozambique Party, or MDM, which is an entirely different political party.

Daniel Ramos, president of the Provincial Election Commission in Nampula, said the problem was discovered at 7AM, after the polling stations had opened and that the resolution of this case goes beyond the capabilities of local electoral bodies.

The National Electoral Commission (CNE) and the Technical Electoral Administration Secretariat (STAE) has not commented on any of these severe cases that are tarnishing the vote in the 53 municipalities in Mozambique.

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