The Cabo Delgado Provincial Elections Commission is launching today (10 April) the electoral civic education campaign in Mocímboa da Praia.
To supervise the campaign, CNE members were sent to that municipality. The members of the CNE in Mocímboa do not have the mandate to assess the conditions, merely to supervise the start of the civic education campaign.
But will there be elections in Mocímboa da Praia?
The voter registration begins in ten days time. The decision as to whether or not there will be elections in Mocímboa is already delayed, which makes it clear that the proposal of the Provincial Elections Commission (CPE) will prevail. That proposal is to hold the elections of 11 October only in the municipal area. Renamo is promising to take the debate to the next meeting of the CNE.
The CNE has been heavily criticised for not reaching consensus on the need to send a team of CNE members to gauge the material conditions for holding the elections in Mocímboa da Praia.
Renamo remains unmoving in defending the exclusion of Mocímboa da Praia from the elections, on the grounds that the registration should be undertaken in the entire district, and not just within the municipal area, as was agreed since 2018. Frelimo is still defending holding the registration only in the area where the security conditions are acceptable.
The arguments of both the Renamo and the Frelimo members on the National Elections Commission take two aspects into account: the disadvantage of Renamo and the advantage of Frelimo during elections held in Mocímboa da Praia under conditions of high levels of insecurity. Frelimo, apart from the advantage of a greater presence of the defence and security forces under its control, which, on several occasions, have played a fundamental role in electoral manipulation, is also favoured by the fact that staff of the public administration have returned and are all concentrated in the centre of Mocímboa da Praia town. Right from the start this is a political advantage. The presence of the Rwandan forces is also something that scares Renamo.
In this board game, Renamo sees no advantage in elections taking place in Mocímboa da Praia. Hence, it is playing all its trumps and political arguments to exclude Mocímboa da Praia from the map of this year’s municipal elections. Renamo’s main argument is that there must be justice and equality of treatment of all districts. That is, if in 2018 it was agreed – and it wasn’t in the law – that voter registration should take place in all districts with municipalities, then the voter registration in Mocímboa should occur in the entire district, regardless of the security conditions.