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Mozambicans protest over rigged elections

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The citizens of Mozambique taking it to the streets in protesting against the rigged elections.

The president of the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), Ossufo Momade, called on Sunday for “peaceful” demonstrations across the country, starting on 17 October, against what he claims was “fraud” in the local elections.

“What I want is a national demonstration, not war,” said the Renamo leader after the extended extraordinary meeting of Renamo’s National Political Commission, held this afternoon in Maputo, in which the party decided not to recognise the results of the 11 October local elections that are being announced by the electoral bodies.

“It’s through demonstrations. After all, do you think that the only alternative that Renamo has to use is the gun?” the Renamo leader asked in response to journalists’ questions about the character of the protests that had been called.

“We have to respect that the Mozambican people are tired of wars,” he added.

Even so, Momade warned that everything “will depend on the regime’s behaviour” as to how the demonstrations he expects from Tuesday unfold, insisting that the party “won” these elections, the first after the total demilitarisation and disarmament of the party, following the peace agreement, was concluded in June.

The party called “all Mozambicans” to a general demonstration “in repudiation of any manipulation of results, starting on 17 October”, which was one of the measures that came out of this meeting of Renamo’s National Political Commission.

It also calls on civil society, religious denominations and the international community “to act courageously and urgently in order to stop this manipulation of election results”.

“We want the international community to come out and say something about the behaviour of the Frelimo party. There can’t be one democracy for Europe and another for Mozambique,” he said, also guaranteeing that Renamo will “lodge appeals with the competent institutions” against the announced results.

“We gave evidence that we won,” said the Renamo leader, warning: “If the courts are not going to do their job, it’s not for lack of complaint.”

He also said that Renamo would demand “public clarification from the CNE about the various illicit acts committed under its impassive and serene gaze” and that they intend to “hold the electoral bodies responsible for the mismanagement and conduct of the electoral process” as well as “requesting an audit of the origin and authorship of the parallel ballot papers used and the expiry date of the ballot boxes”.

On Saturday, the Mozambican Bar Association expressed “deep concern” at the “high level of violence” following Wednesday’s local elections, which “reveals a discredit in the institutions that administer the electoral process”.

“The levels of violence, as well as being able to discredit any electoral result, can also generate suspicion regarding the integrity of the electoral act itself as a whole and of the institutions that administer it,” says a statement from the Order, signed by its president, Carlos Martins.

In recent days, the district and provincial election commissions have released the results of the intermediate tabulation of the vote in at least 46 municipalities, with Frelimo, the country’s ruling party, winning in 45 – most of which were strongly contested by opposition parties and civil society observers – and the MDM retaining Beira, in Sofala province.

Frelimo was announced the winner in Maputo, the capital, in Matola, the country’s most populous city, but also in Nampula, the ‘capital’ of the north, and in Quelimane, the capital of Zambezia province, both of which until now had been led by Renamo.

In the 2018 municipal elections, Frelimo won in 44 of the 53 municipalities – 12 more municipalities were created in these elections – and the opposition won in only nine, in the case of Renamo, in eight, and the MDM in Beira.

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