from ARMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – THE announcement of the ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) as the winner of all four remaining elections is aggravating the crisis in the Southern African country.
The latest municipal polls were held on Sunday amid a low turnout and renewed allegation of fraud by the opposition.
Opposition parties, the main Mozambican National Resistance Movement (RENAMO) and the Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM) have rejected the latest set of results as they did the outcome of the October 11 elections.
The capital, Maputo, has this week been the site of tensions between RENAMO supporters and state security.
RENAMO has since the announcement of the elections in October been organizing so-called victory parades, claiming they were the outright winner of the municipal elections.
One such parade ended in tragedy when a young man allegedly was killed as police allegedly fired live ammunition to disperse opposition supporters in the central town of Marromeu in the Sofala province.
The house of the RENAMO election candidate in Maputo city, Venâncio Mondlane, was on Tuesday surrounded by armed police but no arrests were made, in what critics argue is a tactic to intimidate the opposition politician who has been one of the most vocal against the handling of the election.
RENAMO youths turned up in numbers and conducted a vigil at Mondlane’s home.
The main opposition party has laid criminal charges against General Commander of the Mozambican police force (PRM), Bernardino Rafael, over alleged violations by law enforcers.
From the campaign period to the announcement of the results, the polls have always been marred by controversy.
In October, the National Elections Commission (CNE) announced FRELIMO as victorious in 64 of 65 municipalities under contest.
The Constitutional Council, the last body of appeal in the electoral process, in November ruled that FRELIMO won 56 municipalities, RENAMO four and the MDM one.
Still, the opposition rejected these results.
Elections in four other municipalities, which FRELIMO were declared winner this past weekend, had been scheduled anew after the Constitutional Council cited irregularities.
The South African-based Institute for Security Studies warned “fraudulent” municipal elections were crippling democracy in Mozambique.
The country of 34 million people has enjoyed stability since the end of the 15-year-old civil war in 1992. It raged from 1977, two years after gaining independence from Portugal in 1975.
The war featuring FRELIMO and RENAMO as well as famine left around 1 million people dead.
There have been intermittent fallout between the parties, until a new peace deal, the Maputo Accord was agreed in 2019.
Mozambique, which is set to hold general elections in 2024, is also facing an insurgency by Islamist militancy north of the country.
– CAJ News