Maputo: Ossufo Momade’s car was stoned by Frelimo supporters in Tete and Daviz Simango’s car was blocked and he was not allowed to speak in Inhambane, as Frelimo supporters for the first time physically attacked opposition presidential candidates.
In an already increasingly aggressive campaign, intimidation and provocation among members and supporters of competing parties has been occurring at local level, but this was an escalation of the violence. In both cases there were no riots because opposition candidates appealed to their supporters not to respond to the provocation with violence. But can calm be maintained?
Frelimo members and supporters threw stones that hit the vehicle carrying Renamo presidential candidate Ossufo Momade at Domue, Angonia, Tete. “Although they did not hit the glass, the stones were a potential threat to Momade’s life,” the government news agency (AIM 27 September) wrote. AIM adds that Momade’s wife, who was also in the car, was “visibly shaken by the incident.”
The stones were thrown from Frelimo headquarters in Domue and AIM reports that Renamo members wanted to invade the headquarters but were calmed by the party leadership. Police had to fire shots in the air to disperse Frelimo members and control the situation.
Then on Friday, Frelimo members prevented campaigning by the MDM presidential candidate, Daviz Simango. AIM (28 September) reports that in Vila Fanca do Save, Inhambane, “Simango was speaking to MDM supporters when a small Frelimo group, in full view of the cameras of the independent television station STV, began to make loud noises with the plastic horns known as vuvuzelas. There was no police protection for Simango, who decided that the best option was to head for the next stop on his tour of Inhambane, which was Vila Mambone, the capital of Govuro district. He was pursued by cars flying Frelimo flags, obliging him to make unscheduled stops on the journey. In Vila Mambone, the police were present and avoided any clash between Frelimo and MDM supporters.”
This followed a similar incident on Wednesday (25 September, armed forces day) when Simango was campaigning in Vilankulo. He was heading toward the central market at 14.00 when he was blocked by Frelimo members and supporters in Mozambican Heroes’ Square. With no police protection or large backing, Daviz Simango opted to give up campaigning and left for Belane.
The silence of the Frelimo leadership and of the National Elections Commission in the face of violence will be seen by some Frelimo members as approving of these practices and encouraging Frelimo members to continue the bullying.
In the 2014 campaign, the major case of electoral violence occurred in Gaza province when Frelimo members and supporters blocked Daviz Simango’s cars, forcing the MDM candidate’s personal security to react with violence that resulted in injuries and destruction of equipment.
Will the opposition feel that it can only campaign with large groups of supporters to defend itself against Frelimo?
‘Renamo Junta” attack after Nyusi rally
Five gunmen attacked the administrative post of Amatongas, Gondola, Manica, early Saturday morning (28 September). The attack took place in the 25 de Setembro neighborhood hours after Frelimo candidate Filipe Nyusi led a rally in the district.
The attackers fired four shots at a truck, punctured one of the front tires and shot the driver in the arm. “After the attack the guerrillas fled,” the district secretary, Bento Bernardo, told the Bulletin. There were no deaths and no other injuries. The driver was rescued by local people who took her to Amatongas Health Centre.
The truck was carrying goods from the port of Beira to Chimoio. This is the second attack on road traffic on the main Beira-Chimoio-Zimbabwe road. The first was on 17 September. They are blamed on the self-styled “Renamo Military Junta”, opposed to the Renamo leader Ossufo Momade and trying to halt the elections.
Tighter rules to prevent fraud by polling station staff
Accusations of misconduct by polling station staff led the National Elections Commission (CNE) to impose new restrictions. In particular there have been accusations of taking ballot papers in and out of polling stations. A new regulation bars polling station staff members (membros de mesas de voto, MMVs) from having with them “bags, backpacks, briefcases, wallets or any other means of transport or guarding material that may be suspicious or contribute to disagreement within the polling station.”
MMVs have also been accused of being in contact with parties, especially during the count. They are now prohibited from having mobile phones in the polling station. The exception is for the polling station presiding officer (president) or their deputy, who may use a mobile phone solely for the purpose of communicating with the district Electoral Administration Secretariat, and only in front of the other polling station staff members.
The CNE issued the new restrictions in Instruction No. 6 / CNE / 2019 of 11 September.
The instruction also repeats the rules on who can vote at the polling station different from the one where they were registered: MMVs and other electoral staff, party agents (delegados), journalists, observers and police.
The new stricter rule does not apply to election observers, journalists and voters. Their use of telephones and cameras is only restricted near or in the voting booths
The instruction is available at https://www.cipeleicoes.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Instrucao-6-Voto-especial.pdf
Gunfire and arson against the opposition Renamo delegate’s house in Morrumbala attacked
The home of Renamo’s delegate in Zero, Morrumbala, Zambezia, Felix Vale Afonso, was invaded on Friday night by people firing guns, forcing the family to flee.
Renamo’s Zambezia head of list and candidate for governor, Manuel de Araujo, issued a statement yesterday (28 September) saying the attack on its member had the sole purpose of intimidating Renamo members to stop them campaigning. He continued: “We call on the police to explain, because the home of the delegate in Zero is just a few meters from a police unit It is strange, then, that police agents stationed in that unit did not realize there was firing and did not act.”
Felix Afonso told this newsletter by telephone that the day before the invasion of his home, the flagpole at the party’s headquarters was cut down.
Attack on MDM HQ in Chiuta, Tete
Frelimo-clad individuals stormed the Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM) district headquarters Tuesday (24 September) in Mange, Chiuta district, Tete. They assaulted the party delegate and other members and destroyed party flags and posters. The case was reported to the police without arrests, but MDM subsequently brought charges against the police for increasing the damage.
According to MDM Youth League president Bier Fortunato MDM member Waissone Cornelio was seriously enough injured to require treatment at the local health centre. Others, including the party’s district delegate, Anastacia Jossias, were beaten but not seriously injured. Given the seriousness of the incident, the MDM has dispatched a provincial brigade to review the state of affairs.
In Tete, MDM members were banned from campaigning by the local community leader and the heads of ten houses in the village of Cahadire, in Furacungo, Macanga district on Thursday (26 September). District MDM delegate Athanasio Khewethe and his caravan were stopped on the grounds that they had no credential. Khewethe contacted the police and the National Election Commission (CNE) by telephone to ask for their intervention but to no avail. Eventually he gave up, yet no law requires members and supporters of political parties to be accredited to be able to campaign.
Four Renamo houses burned in Macossa
Four Renamo supporters in Dunda, Macossa district, Manica had their houses burned down at night between 9 and 14 September. The householders, Gildo Borges Tiago, Juvencio Bande, Serida Sixpence and Lenita Saidone, told the Bulletin that they accuse Frelimo supporters.
In the same district, at Nhamagua, Frelimo supporters are accused of setting fire to two grain stores and a motorbike belonging to Juvencio Bechane and Franze Binze, both Renamo supporters. Police say they are aware of the case but lack evidence.
AMUSI quits campaign in Cabo Delgado for fear of insurgents
Mario Albino abandoned his presidential campaign in Cabo Delgado Friday for alleged lack of police security and fear of the insurgents who have led attacks in the north-eastern districts of the province.
He is the only presidential candidate from a party without seats in parliament, and is standing for AMUSI (Accao de Movimento Unido de Salvacao Integral, United Movement for Integral Salvation).
He says that after a week of campaigning in 10 districts of Nampula, with police escort, he was abandoned by police around 8 pm on Thursday. “When the police learned that we had plans to enter Cabo Delgado, the juggling that took place in Malema began. The police simulated car damage, we had to leave them halfway without police protection to stay overnight in Namapa. The next day we advanced to Chiure, but the district commander said he had no car and no permission from the provincial command, and because we know the situation in Cabo Delgado, we could do nothing but return to the city of Nampula,” Albino told the Bulletin.
This is the second time that the AMUSI presidential candidate stopped campaigning because of lack of police protection. The first was in the second week of the election campaign when he declined continuing with the campaign in the provinces of Niassa, Zambezia, Manica and Tete allegedly because police were on other missions.
Smaller campaigns by smaller parties
The three big parties with seats in parliament – Frelimo, Renamo and MDM – are dominating the campaign. The 24 smaller parties have received some government money, but campaigning has been limited.
AMUSI has the only other presidential candidate and will receive the most money (20 mn MT, $300,000) of the small parties. The party is based in Nampula, home province of its presidential candidate Mario Albino, and has concentrated its efforts there. The party has been holding rallies and parades and doing door to door campaign; its posters can be seen.
With limited funds, AMUSI has established a presence in Nampula. In Namiconha and Rapale, for example, AMUSI t-shirts, flags and posters had particular prominence. In Malema, the district party does not have a car, but on foot has had rallies with t-shirts and posters. The only use of a car was the day candidate Mario Albino came to the district.
AMUSI has used the government money in part to allocate a vehicle for travel to the districts of Nampula. And in Nacala Porto posters and banners went up last week, after the party had received funds.
AMUSI is also campaigning just over the border in Cuamba, Niassa. Albino started campaigning in Cabo Delgado but withdrew due to fear of the insurgents. AMUSI is also campaigning in Beira.
As the local party, AMUSI could gain some support in Nampula, which could help Frelimo by splitting the opposition vote. It could potentially win a seat in the national parliament.
The other two parties which gained significant government money are PARENA and PARESO with 6 mn MT ($102,000 and $94,000). We did a survey of our correspondents across the country asking about these two parties. They report that despite receiving funds, PARENA has hardly been seen, although it is campaigning in Beira. PARESO and PARENA both have posters in Malema district, Nampula.
PARESO has mainly been campaigning in the south. In Maxixe, Inhambane, PARESO posters can be seen, and in Matola, Mozambique’s largest city, there was a PARESO parade with less than a dozen people.
None of these three parties have been seen in Zambezia, Tete, or Manica despite standing for parliament in those provinces, our correspondents say. AMUSI is not standing in Gaza. PARESO and PARENA are both standing for provincial assembly as well as parliament in Gaza, but are not campaigning there.
In Chiure, in the south of Cabo Delgado in an area not affected by the insurgency, our correspondent noted that MONARUMO and one if its candidates Dorinda Pintane are actively campaigning on foot, with parades, pamphlets, door to door campaigns in the district town and the six (6) administrative posts that make up the district.
And Francisco Campira, head of PASOMA, posted on his Facebook page (9 September) a picture him flying off to Lisbon to campaign for the single European seat.
Nyusi bans transporting people to fill his rallies
Across the country people are being transported from distant points and in unsafe conditions, such as standing in the back of a lorries intended only for cargo, to fill the rallies led by Frelimo presidential candidate Filipe Nyusi. This was at the root of the fatal accident that killed at least 7 people in Songo on 22 September, when a truck returning form a Nyusi rally overturned throwing down a hill the 60 people standing in the back.
In a very convoluted way, at a rally in Chimoio Thursday (26 September), Filipe Nyusi banned the practice. He asked those present if anyone had been transported from a distant place to attend the rally. “Are these people just from Chimoio or are they brought from Sussundenga?” Nyusi asked the population during the rally. “Is there anyone who will say that in Chimoio Frelimo has no supporters?” continued the Frelimo candidate in a tone of denial.
Although a round-about way to do it, the message was clear. And any blame for filling the stadium with outsiders rested with junior officials.
Following his rally in Chimoio, Nyusi went on to campaign in Barue and Manica districts, where the message had not yet been heard. In Manica, many civil servants and other people from different locations in the Manica district were transported by truck to Manica town to welcome the Frelimo candidate, report our correspondents. And civil servants from various sectors left Tambara district Wednesday (September 25) for Barue district and travelled 250 km to attend Filipe Nyusi’s rally the next day.
Locality head jailed for 5 months for destroying Renamo leaflets
In a trial on September 24, Alberto Jose Corrente, head of Nhaphale locality, Charre administrative post, Mutarara district, Tete, was sentenced to 5 months in prison for destroying Renamo leaflets.
Renamo blocks civil society observers in Inhambane
Renamo prohibited CDD and Catholic Church observers from following its campaign in Inhambane, the observers told the Bulletin. As a result, the 10 national observers accredited by the Provincial Election Commission accompany only the Frelimo and MDM campaign.
“Whenever we are doing our work we are expelled by Renamo members and supporters, claiming that they have been ordered by the provincial representative not to accept our presence,” an observer told the Bulletin.
Renamo provincial delegate Carlos Maela did not confirm or refute the accusations. He told the Bulletin that “Frelimo has accredited many young people, they need to come forward at central level to know who we are dealing with.” He added “There are several accredited organisations and we don’t know which ones have nonpartisan observers”.
Did Renamo man intentionally drive car into Frelimo women?
It could be another road accident if the victims were not Frelimo supporters and the driver, a man who had been transferred from Morrumbene High School to the primary school allegedly for being a Renamo member. So a road accident Wednesday (26 September) in Morrumbene, Inhambane, has become a political case.
Three women in Frelimo campaign clothes were hit on their way to a party meeting in Gotite, around 1 pm, by a car driven by the teacher; two of the women were seriously injured and taken to Chicuque hospital
Frelimo representative Francisco Mucanheia said that “the hit was intentional as the accused realized that the victims are from Frelimo “.
Renamo delegate Jacob Chidocoro. said “This version is not the truth”, he told the Bulletin. The three women walked around a minibus and into traffic, he said.
On 27 September, the family of the accused professor and members of Renamo unsuccessfully tried to remove the young man from the cells of the local police station where he is detained.
Disappearing MDM posters in Rapale
Large numbers of MDM posters and flags, mostly glued to tents and power poles, have disappeared at the administrative post of Namaita, Rapale, Nampula, our local correspondents confirm. Amina Alberto, MDM district party delegate, says Frelimo teams in the dead of night have been frantically removing the flags raised and leaflets posted. Juma Alberto, secretary and Frelimo member accused of leading the acts, denies the accusations
Fewer classes in Zambezia and Sofala
Students from various schools in Zambezia had no classes Friday (September 27), so they could participate in the Frelimo campaign. For example, at Milange and Joaquim Maquival Secondary Schools they were told to attend a Frelimo meeting aimed at mobilizing students to hand over their voters cards for unclear purposes.
In Sofala, classes were interrupted on Thursday (September 26), to receive the head of list at the level of Sofala province, Lourenco Ferreira Bulha, who met in the conference room of the Frelimo District Committee in Chemba with civil servants for an election campaign rally. Chemba Secondary School, Lambane Complete Primary School, Goba Complete Primary School and Filipe Magaia School had no classes, and other public sector institutions were closed.
Barred from standing for president, Estevao calls for boycott
Estevao da Fatima, secretary general of a small party called MAMO (Mozambican Alternative Movement), was barred by the Constitutional Council for standing for president because too many his nomination signatures were fake.
“We did everything we could to run, but we were removed without any explanation … so we think the election process is biased and so we are telling our members and supporters that we will not participate. We are also asking all those who are our supporters not to vote for any party,” said Estevao de Fatima on German DW radio last week.
Presidential candidates must submit signatures of 10,000 voters to the Constitutional Council (CC) which gave a clear explanation for rejecting him. It said he submitted 11,340 signatures of which 7,732 were invalid, including 5,360 clearly signed by the same person. He then submitted 6,393 new signatures, of which 311 were signed by the same person and 4,434 had invalid registration card numbers.
In his boycott campaign he has already gone to Cabo Delgado and Nampula and will go to Niassa and finally Maputo.
Voting in Mozambique is not mandatory and there is no sanctions for calling for a boycott of elections. Former Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama made several public appeals to his party members and supporters not to participate in the local elections that Renamo boycotted in 1998 and 2013.
“Mariano Nhongo supports Ossufo Momade”
News reports circulating that Renamo’s self-proclaimed military junta leader Mariano Nhongo said in an interview with Radio PAX that from September 27 he and his military allies will reinforce the campaign of Renamo around the Gorongosa and Morrumbala Mountains.
This information is false. Radio Pax director Father Jose Suade told the Bulletin that Radio Pax did not conduct such an interview. Indeed, “Radio has not been on the air since Wednesday because we are currently replacing the tower,” said the priest.
From other observer groups
- CDD: Violations but good practice too
Officials at Gurue District Hospital were forced to campaign for Frelimo in Zambezia province, reports Monitor, published by CDD (Centre for Democracy and Development), in its report on the third week of election observation. According to Monitor, a list was circulated to which each employee should register his or her name as an attendance list.
“Obviously, these government workers face a clear violation of their rights as Mozambican citizens, because participation in party activities is voluntary”, says Monitor.
Monitor also found that despite many violations, there were also many examples of good practices by campaigners with good relations between members of different political parties. In Maputo city and province; Chimoio, Manica; Cabo Delgado; Gaza and Sofala members of the political parties greet each other in a festive atmosphere, Monitor reports. This is due to the constant mobilisation that party leaders have been making in their political organisations, Monitor adds.
As far as irregularities are concerned, the platform also encountered a number of problems concerning the involvement of children in election campaign caravans, posting electoral propaganda material in places prohibited by law, and the destruction of posters.
Source: 2019 General Elections – Mozambique Political Process Bulletin