Mozambique News Agency

AIM Reports

No.390, 17th November 2009



  • Frelimo victory confirmed
  • Breakdown of parliamentary seats
  • CNE denounces vote tampering
  • Renamo rejects results
  • “People who buy furniture aren’t preparing for war”
  • Fisheries cooperation renewed
  • Cabo Delgado cholera centre attacked
  • Natural gas for Maputo power stations

    Frelimo victory confirmed

    Mozambique’s National Elections Commission (CNE) on 11 November announced the final results from the 28 October general elections, confirming an overwhelming victory for incumbent president Armando Guebuza and the ruling Frelimo Party. The turnout was just over 44 per cent of the electorate

    Reading out the results in Maputo, CNE chairperson Joao Leopoldo da Costa said that President Guebuza had won 2.9 million of the 3.9 million valid votes – which is slightly more than 75 per cent.

    The runner-up was Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Renamo, who took 651,000 votes, or 16.5 per cent. The third candidate, the mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango, who heads the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), took 341,000 votes, or 8.6 per cent.

    In the parliamentary election, Frelimo’s gained 75 per cent whilst Renamo took 17.8 per cent. In third place was the MDM with four per cent. The MDM was only able to stand candidates in four provinces (Maputo City, Sofala, Niassa and Inhambane). The CNE rejected, on procedural grounds, the list of MDM candidates for the other nine constituencies.

    16 minor parties stood in the parliamentary elections, and their results were uniformly dismal. None of them took as much as one per cent of the vote.

    These results strengthen Frelimo’s already impressive parliamentary majority. The number of seats held by Frelimo in the 250-member Assembly of the Republic rises from 160 to 191. The Renamo parliamentary group drops from 90 to 51 members. A third force enters the parliament – due to its strong showing in Sofala and Maputo City, the MDM will have eight deputies.

    Frelimo sweeps board in provincial elections

    In Mozambique’s first elections for provincial assemblies Frelimo won in 137 of the 141 district constituencies. Renamo won in Alto Molocue, Milange and Morrrumbala in Zambezia province, while the MDM won in the city of Beira.

    In 67 of the constituencies Frelimo was unopposed. This was mainly because Renamo downgraded the provincial elections and concentrated on the parliamentary elections.

    In many cases Renamo candidates in the provincial elections were rejected because they lacked the necessary documents, notably the certificate proving that they had lived in the province for at least six months. Renamo apparently accepted this decision of the CNE, for it did not complain against the exclusion to the appeals body, the Constitutional Council.

    In the 70 districts where Frelimo won in a contested campaign, it took between 90 and 100 per cent of the vote in 12 of them, between 80 and 90 per cent in 17, between 70 and 80 per cent in 18, between 60 and 70 per cent in 13, and between 50 and 60 per cent in ten.

    The upshot of this is that Frelimo will have an absolute majority in all ten provincial assemblies. In two of them – Inhambane and Gaza – it faces no opposition at all. Renamo only stood in two districts in Inhambane and one in Gaza, and did not elect any deputies in any of them.

    In Maputo province, the Assembly will have 75 Frelimo deputies and five from Renamo. In the northern province of Cabo Delgado, Frelimo has 73 seats and Renamo eight, while in the neighbouring province of Niassa there are 66 seats for Frelimo and two each for Renamo and the MDM.

    In the largest of the assemblies, in Nampula, Frelimo has 78 seats, Renamo 11 and the MDM two, while in Zambezia Frelimo has 57 seats and Renamo 31. In Tete, Frelimo elected 75 deputies and Renamo five, and in Manica Frelimo has 61 seats and Renamo 19.

    In Sofala, the main opposition is the MDM, with 20 seats in the provincial assembly to 59 for Frelimo and just one for Renamo.

    The provincial assemblies have no legislative powers. They simply approve (or reject) the budget presented by the provincial government, and have limited powers of oversight. They will meet only twice a year for no more than ten days a session.

    Breakdown of parliamentary seats

    Frelimo will have an overwhelming majority of seats in the incoming parliament, holding 191 of the 250 seats. Renamo will have 51 seats, and the MDM will hold the remaining eight.

    Frelimo has a majority of seats in every province except Sofala where it holds 10 seats and the combined opposition also has 10.

    The results are slightly different from those announced earlier in the provinces, in that Renamo has gained two seats from Frelimo – one in Niassa, and one in Sofala. This is due to the CNE’s “requalification” of votes declared as invalid at the polling stations.

    Every blank and invalid ballot is sent to the CNE for confirmation. In all elections there has been a trend for polling station staff to interpret the rules strictly, and to throw out as invalid ballots where the voter has put his cross or fingerprint slightly outside the box of his preferred candidate.

    Where the CNE judges that the voter’s intention was clear, such votes are rescued and given back to the candidates. In all the elections to date, this procedure has tended to benefit Renamo more than Frelimo.

    The final breakdown of seats by constituency is as follows. For purposes of comparison, the number of seats won in 2004 is put in brackets.

    Total seats
    14 (12)
    12 (9)
    2 (3)
    Cabo Delgado
    22 (22)
    19 (18)
     3 (4)
    45 (50)
    32 (27)
    13 (23)
    45 (48)
    26 (19) 
    19 (29)
    20 (18)
    18 (14)
    2 (4)
    16 (14)
    12 (7)
    4 (7)
    20 (22)
    10 (6)
    5 (18)
    16 (16)
    15 (15)
    1 (1)
    16 (17)
    16 (17)
    0 (0)
    Maputo Province
    16 (13)
    15 (12)
    1 (1)
    Maputo City
    18 (16)
    14 (14)
    1 (2)
    1 (1)
    1 (1)
    0 (0)
    Rest of world   
    1 (1)
    1  (1)
    0 (0)
    250 (250)
    191 (160)
    51 (90)

    Since the MDM was only founded in March this year, these are the first elections in which it has participated.

    The comparison with 2004 is flawed because in that year, as in 1999, Renamo competed as part of a coalition, the Renamo-Electoral Union, with ten minor parties. The bitter split within Renamo that gave rise to the MDM means that several of the eight MDM deputies are not new to parliament – they were Renamo-Electoral Union deputies in the previous parliament.

    The changes in the number of seats per province reflect the changes in the percentage of voters registered in each province.

    CNE denounces vote tampering

    Speaking at the ceremony where he announced the final election results, the chairperson of the CNE, Joao Leopoldo da Costa, admitted that the general elections were marred by the deliberate invalidation of votes by polling station staff.

    The law states that any ballot paper with marks beside the names of two candidates is invalid – so corrupt staff members invalidated votes belonging to a candidate they disliked by adding ink marks to make it seem as if the voters have tried to vote for two candidates. This form of malpractice has been noted since the 2004 general elections.

    The CNE publicly denounced the behaviour of dishonest staff at the time of the second round of the mayoral election in the northern port of Nacala in February. Now Costa repeated the denunciation, and reminded everyone that vote tampering is a crime. “Although the number of votes in this situation does not alter the final outcome of the election”, said Costa, “the CNE vehemently repudiates this practice and proposes to continue working to discourage such acts, with the involvement of all interested parties. This is an electoral crime punishable under the terms of the electoral law and applicable criminal legislation”.

    Costa added that it was imperative that the relevant state bodies “should always be prepared and duly trained for criminal investigation about conduct that constitutes electoral crimes”.

    Action has been taken by the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), the executive wing of the CNE, against a second form of malpractice –the recording of impossibly high turnouts in some polling stations. Although it has not made public its actions, the STAE has clearly eliminated the most obvious corrupt results.

    Although both Renamo and the MDM have protested about alleged frauds, neither of them complained to the CNE or to the district and provincial elections commissions.

    The electoral law states that, if something illicit happens at a polling station, accredited political party monitors present must protest at once, and have two days to make a complaint to the CNE.

    But Costa said that the CNE had received no complaints at all. No party representative had delivered any protest to any of the election commissions within the deadline (which expired on 30 October).

    Renamo appoints two members to each of the district and provincial election commissions, and has two members on the CNE. Costa said that in every district the results were approved by consensus. Similarly at national level the CNE decision approving the results was passed by consensus, with neither of the Renamo appointees dissenting.

    Asked about Renamo failure to protest, Ivone Soares, spokesperson for the Renamo election office, told AIM that several district commissions refused to accept Renamo protests

    Renamo rejects results

    Renamo has continued its long tradition of rejecting the results of Mozambican general elections.

    In an immediate reaction to the official results, announced by the CNE, Renamo general secretary Ossufo Momade, demanded that the elections be annulled and a transitional government be set up to run the country until the electoral laws could be overhauled and new polls organised.

    Momade made a personal attack on Felisberto Naife, general director of the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), the executive body of the CNE, claiming that he had organised the massive fraud alleged by Renamo.

    Momade said that Renamo is in favour of peace, but he did not exclude “new sacrifices” in order “to save democracy”.

    On 16 November Renamo delivered its appeal, running to about 500 pages, to the National Elections Commission (CNE). The CNE must now forward the Renamo complaint, with its response, to the appeals body, the Constitutional Council.

    The Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), although it continues to argue that the elections were marred by fraud, has not called for their annulment. Instead, it is pursuing legal channels – the MDM election agent, Jose Manuel de Sousa, told reporters in Beira on Wednesday that it had compiled a dossier on electoral offences, which it would submit to the Attorney-General’s Office.

    The MDM leader and mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango, described the elections as “democratic illegality”, but was pleased that the election of eight MDM members to the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, broke the bipolar nature of that institution.

    Simango had the grace to congratulate the winners and wish them well in their governance, even though he regarded the results more a product of the electoral bodies than of the electorate.

    “People who buy furniture aren’t preparing for war”

    Frelimo has dismissed as mere bluster the threat by Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Renamo, that “Mozambique will burn”, unless the 28 October general elections are annulled.

    Interviewed in the weekly paper “Magazine Independente”, the Frelimo Central Committee Secretary for Mobilisation and Propaganda, Edson Macuacua, declared “the Renamo leader lost a good opportunity to keep his mouth shut. Renamo is out of control and desperate. This discourse by its leader is out of touch with the current situation in the country”.

    Macuacua pointed out that Renamo no longer enjoyed any of the political or material conditions that would allow it to set the country ablaze. Furthermore, Dhlakama was not behaving like a man about to lead his troops into battle. Recently he was seen in a supermarket in the northern city of Nampula buying furniture for a new house he has acquired in that city.

    “People who buy furniture aren’t preparing for war”, said Macuacua. “They’re preparing to enjoy the fruits of peace”.

    As for Renamo’s demand for a transitional “Government of National Unity”, Macuacua said this would be “an offence against the people’s will. We would be annulling the elections, which is inconceivable. National unity has already been built by the vote, and cannot be unbuilt”.

    Macuacua also rejected the conspiracy theory that in bodies such as the National Elections Commission (CNE), Frelimo had entered into an alliance with Renamo to exclude the breakaway Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) from most of the parliamentary constituencies.

    “This is an attempt to confuse public opinion, because in essence Renamo and the MDM are same party”, he claimed. “They struggle for the same members, the same voters, and they have the same discourse and the same strategy”.

    All the main leaders of the MDM came from Renamo, he added, and there was “a natural and umbilical relation between Renamo and the MDM”. Macuacua insisted that the exclusion of the MDM from nine of the 13 constituencies resulted simply from application of the electoral law, and the jurisprudence of the appeals body, the Constitutional Council.

    Macuacua denied Renamo’s allegations of electoral fraud, as just the complaints of bad losers. He said that Renamo monitors had been present at all the polling stations during the count and had all ratified the results.

    Fisheries cooperation renewed

    The governments of Mozambique, Norway and Iceland have pledged to renew their cooperation in fisheries for the period 2009-2013, seeking to improve and make sustainable the exploitation of fisheries resources.

    The programme of fisheries assistance for the next four years will be co-financed by Norway and Iceland to the tune of $27.7 million in grants. The funds will be used to strengthen the capacity of the fisheries administration in the areas of research, fisheries management, aquaculture, artisanal fishing, quality control and training. It will also finance measures to improve the living conditions of fishing communities.

    Fisheries Minister Cadmiel Muthemba put average annual production at 130,000 tonnes of fisheries produce. Most of this is consumed locally, but 10,000 tonnes of high value produce (notably prawns) is exported, earning the country about $55 million.

    Muthemba said that the contribution of the fisheries sector is three per cent of gross national product, and it employs 150,000 people in fishing and aquaculture, and in the processing and marketing of fisheries produce.

    Cabo Delgado cholera centre attacked

    Another cholera treatment centre in northern Mozambique has been vandalised by a group of people who believe that these centres spread cholera rather than cure it. The attack took place in Muadja, Ancuabe district, Cabo Delgado province.

    The spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Leonardo Chavane, told reporters on 12 November that “there was agitation which culminated in damage to the centres. Some people are injured and there may also be deaths because of this act”.

    “This complicates the health dilemma in that part of the country”, said Chavane. “It creates difficulties for the authorities to provide health care to people, who may die because of this sort of attitude”.

    Repeatedly in northern Mozambique malicious rumours have spread alleging that the health workers trying to stamp out cholera are actually spreading the disease. One of the problems is that the Portuguese words for “cholera” and “chlorine” sound similar.

    One of the methods of halting the spread of cholera is to disinfect wells with chlorine. But when health workers turn up to disinfect the wells they are accusing of putting cholera in the water. This misunderstanding leads crowds to attack treatment centres.

    Chavane said that since the cholera outbreak began in Cabo Delgado in mid-August, 322 cases had been diagnosed, 42 in Ancuabe, 22 in Mocimboa da Praia district, and 258 in Montepuez district.

    The outbreak has claimed four lives, three in Montepuez and one in Ancuabe. Taking the country as a whole, 19,192 cases of cholera have been diagnosed since the start of the year, and 152 of these patients have died.

    Natural gas for Maputo power stations

    The two diesel fired back-up power stations that can provide Maputo with electricity in the event of interruption to the normal power supply are being converted to run on natural gas.

    The publicly owned electricity company, EDM, has signed a memorandum of intentions with the National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH) to provide gas for these power stations.

    The gas comes from the southern province of Inhambane, where it is extracted and treated by the South African petrochemical company Sasol. Most of the gas is exported along a pipeline to South Africa, but there is also a branch of the pipeline taking gas to the city of Matola. Some industries, notably the Mozal aluminium smelter, are already using the gas.

    The two power stations can, between them, currently generate 60 megawatts of power. Once they have been converted to run on natural gas they will enable EDM to make considerable savings, since the gas will be much cheaper than imported diesel.

    Augusto de Sousa Fernando, EDM’s director for generation and transmission, said that after the conversion, the two power stations can be switched on at peak times, to cover any deficit. The power Maputo uses at the moment comes mostly from the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi, routed via South Africa.

    The gas required is available. According to ENH chairperson Nelson Ocuane, ENH has 2.5 million gigajoules of gas a year to sell to EDM. “Now we are dealing with the technical questions of the project”, he said, “but I think that if all goes well, we can begin supplying gas to EDM as from 2011”.

    This project will make it viable to extend the current pipeline from Matola to Maputo. That extension is budgeted at $20 million. A gas distribution network in Maputo will cost another $7 million, and a further extension to Marracuene district would cost $2.5 million.


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