Mozambique Elections 202-203 – 20 December 2023
The full bulletin in pdf is on https://bit.ly/Moz-El-202
Government schedules voter registration for rainy season
Voter registration ahead of the 2024 general elections will take place throughout the country between 1 February and 16 March next year, at the height of the rainy season, the Council of Ministers announced yesterday (Tuesday 19 December)
The decision, taken on the proposal of the National Elections Commission, not only violates the law, which states that election procedures should take place during the dry season, but could also contribute to reducing the number of rural voters in northern Mozambique, including Zambezia, which records heavy rains in these months. It will also make observation difficult.
For the municipal elections of 11 October, the government at first fixed 20 February as the date for the start of voter registration, but the date was then changed to 20 April, precisely because February and March are often the wettest months (Read more in https://bit.ly/CIP-El-18)
Court suspends Nampula mayor and seizes cell phone; Renamo to appeal today
The current Mayor of Nampula City, and the head of the Renamo list of candidates in the municipal elections, Paulo Vahanle, has been accused by the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Ministério Público, MP) of the crimes of incitement to collective disobedience and the possession of prohibited weapons.
Nampula city judge Esmeralda da Conceição Baulene, at the request of the MP, yesterday (19 December) ordered that to prevent Paulo Vahanle “from resuming illicit conduct”, precautionary measures should be taken, including suspending the mayor “from the exercise of his profession or of any activity which depends on a public title or an authorisation or approval from a public authority”. That forces him to stop acting as mayor of Nampula city.
Renamo said it would appeal the court order today (Wednesday 20 December)
Judge Baulene also issued an order “to search and to seize the cell phones that may be found in the possession of the accused [Paulo Vahanle] and any other objects related with crime, particularly the spears and arrows, displayed at the public meeting” in mid-November
The searches were held in the home of Paulo Vahanle, in Carrupeia, Nampula city. There the court collected Paulo Vahanle’s Huawei cell phone, home-made spears (known as azagaias) and an iron rod, 1.3 metres long. Arrows are part of the Renamo logo and with spears represent traditional weapons. The left photo is of Renamo members with the logo on their back, protesting President Nyusi’s speech, in parliament this morning.
The court also suspended Vahanle’s right to demonstration and assembly, on the grounds that he had used that right “in an abusive and excessive manner”, which put at risk “a higher right”, namely the right to life.
If the suspension is confirmed, Vahanle will be unable to touch the municipal accounts or undertake any activity in the Municipal Council. Indeed, the purpose of the suspension could really be to prevent him from emptying the coffers of the municipality, as has happened in other municipalities when their mayors leave office. (Excepts from court documents are on https://bit.ly/Moz-El-202-court)
For the first time, justice agencies have recognised that the demonstrations opposing the election results, on 27 October in Nampula city, resulted in deaths, but did not specify how many.
The dispatch from the court, in response to the request from the MP, accused Paulo Vahanle of giving an express instruction to citizens “to go onto the streets to demonstrate their rejection of the election results”. Because of this demonstration, the dispatch added, “acts of vandalism took place culminating in physical assaults which caused the death of some citizens”.
The contradicts earlier statements and is the first recognition that people were killed in the demonstrations. Last November, the Minister of the Interior went to parliament to state that only one citizen had died, in Chiure, in Cabo Delgado province, and made no mention of the dozen or so killings that had occurred in Nampula and Nacala.
Until now, no justice body had recognised that on that day citizens were killed in Nampula. But it only refers to “physical assaults” and does not say they were by the police. Six people shot were dead by the police in Nampula City, including Sabonete Saíde who left a pregnant wife and two children (See more in Bulletin 175 – https://bit.ly/Moz-El-175).
Car of the STAE head of operations in Marromeu set on fire
Unidentified individuals early Tuesday morning (19 December) set fire to the vehicle of the Head of Organisation and Operations of the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE) of Marromeu. It was a grey Toyota Vitz car.
The neighbours went to put out the fire, but it had already partly consumed the vehicle, particularly the engine. The unknown attackers set fire to the vehicle and ran away.