Registration during the first ten days, through Saturday, was 1.8 mn, which is 18% of the target of 9.9 mn, STAE (Secretariado Técnicao de Administração Eleitoral) told a press conference today (2 May). There are 3,192 brigades, registering an average of 180,805 citizens per day, which is 57 people per day. Registration is highest in Gaza – 29% of the target – and lowest in three provinces which have high opposition support – Nampula, Tete and Zambézia have registered only 15% of the target. More women have registered than men – 947,637 women compared to 860,416 men.
STAE accepts there were initial problems with computers and printers, but said today that all registration posts are open and problems are “drastically reduced” . But reports from our correspondents in all municipalities disagree. A few posts they visited were not open or not operational. And card printers remain a major problem – correspondents report posts that have not printed cards in the past three or four days. Our correspondents report at least one fifth of registration posts with supply or technical problems, mainly card printing.
The card printing problem was so serious in Gurue and Chiúre that STAE moved printing equipment to its warehouses and printed cards overnight. This caused a huge protest because it meant electoral processes were being carried out without party and civil society observers and without the knowledge of the parties, and it was alleged that cards were being printed for people who had not registered, to be used to vote for Frelimo. Instructions were issued that all registration activities must be done in registration posts during the opening hours, 08.00 to 16.00. But the director-general of STAE and other officials are in Zambézia today investigating.
Registration by province
Projections are voting age population in the districts with municipalities
After complaints at priority to state employees and Frelimo members, STAE bans special queue lists
Granting priority to lists of state employees for voter registration is causing conflicts between brigade members and citizens who are in the queues, and also between monitors of political parties, particularly between Renamo and Frelimo.
Last week, STAE issued an instruction which forbids the brigade members from receiving and giving special attention to groups organised outside the queue at the registration post.
In all the districts, our correspondents report complaints that the brigade members are giving priority to employees of the public administration and to members of Frelimo to the detriment of citizens who have been in the queues since early morning. As a result, some voters spend more than a day in the registration queue.
Our correspondents in Angoche, in Nampula province, were at the posts in Limbo and Gulamo last Saturday. At 07.30 on Saturday, the posts were full of voters. But when the registration began, the people in the queues were not processed, which caused complaints. Only teachers were allowed to register.
In Alto Molócuè, in Zambézia, a brigade member confided to members of Renamo, that, as from 28 April, registration in Alto Molócuè would be exclusively for staff of the public administration, and for youths from the OJM and OMM. According to him, on 27 April, after the closure of the registration post, they were called to a meeting of the Frelimo Party where they were given instructions that the directors of the schools would collect the identity cards of the school staff and would deliver them to the registration brigades. These would then spend all day registering school workers, leaving no time for ordinary members of the community to register.
This game will take many days. After ending the registration of the public employees and the Frelimo members, the machines would begin to have serious problems of breakdowns, which would prevent the registration of citizens whose political party allegiance is unknown.
Last Thursday, there were incidents at the Mucuapa EPC, in Cuamba, Niassa province, which obliged the police to intervene and open fire to bring the situation under control. One of the voters who wanted to register said that she and her husband joined the queue at about 01.00 in the morning. She was the fifth person in the only queue at the post. The registration began on time at 08.00 (seven hours after she had arrived), but by the time the post closed (17.00), she had still not been registered. Instead of calling the people who were in the queue, the brigade members attended to those who arrived later, because their names were on the list sent by the Frelimo Party.
When the posts closed, two types of tickets were distributed to the people in the queue, for them to come back the following day. The tickets were not numbered. Some were written in black and some in blue. A policeman said that people whose tickets were written in black would not be attended to that night, because priority would be given to those who received tickets written in blue.
In Mozambique Island, in Nampula, brigade members at the registration post at the 3rd Congress Secondary School prioritised registration of state employees, such as teachers and soldiers, among others.
In Nacala, also in Nampula, our correspondents report that the target for registration in many posts in that municipality are public employees who are granted priority. This is happening in the registration post located in the 7 April EPC.
In Nampula city, at the registration post in the Nampula Industrial and Commercial School the potential voters are taking 7 days to gain access to the ticket so that they can register.
Following their observation visits, our correspondents report that in the registration post set up at the Mulutxasse EPC, the post supervisor had neighbourhood cards with lists of people to be registered there. The post only attended to state employees. The queue was paralysed. The supervisor justified his behaviour on the grounds that he was following higher orders.
At the Futuro Melhor EPC, the brigade members only attended to people whose names were on the list from the party cells.
In many cities, the teachers are instructed to vote for Frelimo and, sometimes, to take a photo of their ballot paper to prove it. Any many public service jobs are given preferentially to Frelimo, so the priority to state employees is, in effect, a priority to Frelimo voters.