Mozambique Elections 174- 2 November 2023
The full bulletin in pdf is on https://bit.ly/Moz-El-174
CC confirms gross fraud can now be ignored, reversing earlier policy
If only part of a gross fraud is appealed to the Constitutional Council (CC), then the fraud can be ignored, the CC ruled Monday (30 Oct). This reverses a policy set in 2014 when the CC forced a re-run of the elections in Gurué because of “flagrant violations of the law on the part of polling station staff and the Zambezia Provincial Electoral Commission.” In that case, the CC actually carried out its own investigation to confirm widespread fraud.
This year the CC was ruling on complaints about Marromeu and Alto Molocue, and changed its policy. We reported that in both the misconduct was so widespread, starting with the registration, that the results were not credible. But the CC said that the parties did not identify enough individual frauds to change the results, so they could be ignored.
For Alto Molocue we said “The chaos from beginning to end makes the election in Alto Molocue totally corrupt and unacceptable.” There had been disruption and confusion in the registration and we estimated that Frelimo registered at least 1,549 people from outside the municipality, so they could vote in the election. At the end of the registration, observers could not inspect one-third of register books, and many voter never received the voters card.
On voting day there was significant ballot box stuffing and three polling stations had more people voting that there were registered voters.
Observers were barred from the count in 13 polling stations. In at least 16 polling stations the count was illegally delayed and the editais were not posted until well after midnight.
In Marromeu we did a parallel count in 28 polling stations, and we found 11 of that group had ballot box stuffing. We could do this by comparing editais at the same school, and by comparing numbers written on the classroom blackboard during the count with the edital. For example, at Julius Nyerere school, two polling stations showed 88% and 83% turnout, and the edital had 124 and 232 more votes for Frelimo than were on the blackboard. Polling stations in the same school where the edital agreed with the blackboard had turnouts of 51% to 69%. The official high turnout is ghost voters added to the edital.
CC ruling means Renamo should win Quelimane
Renamo has proven ballot box stuffing in Quelimane, the Constitutional Council (CC) ruled on Tuesday (31 October). This means the CC will accept this evidence when it considers the final results of the 11 October election which have been submitted by the National Elections Commission (CNE). The CNE said Frelimo won, but replacing the results of just 12 polling stations (mesas) would turn a Frelimo win by 3509 votes into a Renamo victory by 1675.
In its petition to the court, Renamo cited 39 polling stations with ballot box stuffing. However 12 of those are particularly obvious. Renamo submitted the district election commission (CDE) table of the results in all 180 polling stations. And 15 of these have a curious blank space for the number of votes (shown by the blue arrow):
That probably happened when officials in STAE (Election Technical Secretariat) were rushing to change the Frelimo and Renamo votes, and did not have enough time to add them up, so left the spaces blank. Of those 15, Renamo has its copies of the official results sheets (editas) which are signed and stamped for 12. Editais are posted on the polling station door and copies are given to party delegates and observers; if they are signed and stamped, they have legal standing.
The changes made to the results when STAE was making its table are so huge that just 12 polling stations are enough to make a difference. In those dozen polling stations, 1514 votes were taken from Renamo and 3669 votes were added to Frelimo. In three of those polling stations, STAE gives Frelimo more than 600 votes and a turnout of nearly 100%.
If the constitutional council accepts Renamo’s signed and stamped 12 editais, which by law it should do, then Renamo would be declared victor.
For those 12, we have done a table of the differences between the polling station edital and the CDE chart.
Others in Renamo’s 39 are equally gross. In two polling stations 300 votes were added, pushing turnout to near 100%. In an IFPELAC polling station 300 votes were just added to Frelimo while in a second polling station in EPC Unidade Popular 377 votes were added to Frelimo and Renamo lost 68, in order to keep the turnout just below 100%.
The STAE mapa de apuramento distrital – district totals by polling station – is treated as a secret document by STAE and the CNE, and thus has had to be leaked to us. The electoral law give observers access to all parts of the count. Law 14 of 2018 says that for municipal elections:
“1. Election observation covers all stages of the electoral process, from its start to the validation and proclamation of the election results by the Constitutional Council.
2. Observation of the electoral process focuses primarily on observing the following:
a) the activities of the National Electoral Commission, the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration and its support bodies at central, provincial, district and city level throughout the electoral process”.
But the CNE and STAE have always denied this. They say documents such as STAE’s mapa de apuramentodistrital are internal documents not covered by “all activities” of STAE as set out in the law.
And in the name of transparency, less and less information is public. Results are no longer released for each polling station, as they were until the 2014 election, and the internal tabulation process is not open.
Quelimane is unusual in another way. In all but three municipalities, the CNE simply accepted and published the district elections commission results sheets. But Quelimane was one of three where the CNE changed the results. This table shows the process.