by Palmira Velasco
The Constitutional Council of Mozambique deliberated (24 November 2023), on the sixth local elections held on October 11th. FRELIMO (party in power) was proclaimed the biggest winner after obtaining victory in 60 municipalities out of 65. RENAMO, the largest opposition party, took four municipalities and the second largest opposition party, MDM, only won one municipality.
Since the municipal elections were held, RENAMO has claimed to have won the majority of municipalities, including the capital city Maputo and the city of Matola, as well as Nampula, the third largest city in Mozambique. Due to several irregularities in the electoral process, RENAMO filed complaints in courts and the National Elections Commission-CNE about the fraud that occurred throughout the process and post-elections, more specifically in the counting and preliminary counting. The complaint was also filed with the Constitutional Council, which in turn notified the CNE to deliver the original notices and minutes drawn up during the counting of the electoral results. After the elections and during the intermediate counting of results, the RENAMO party was already claiming victory in almost the entire country. It was at that time that a wave of intimidation, kidnappings and executions began against RENAMO members and supporters, academics, judges and even members of the ruling party who disagreed with the way the local elections process was conducted.
Meanwhile, the Constitutional Council’s position was official, but is not considered reliable due to the fact that it only confirmed the results previously released by the CNE. In this sense, the people no longer have expectations of credible electoral processes since in 2024 the country will have presidential elections. The two largest opposition parties originate in the central part of the country for historical reasons originating from the time of the national liberation struggle. However, for the first time in the history of local elections, the opposition won in the south, in the Province of Inhambane, District of Vilanculos. Although RENAMO lost the presidency of the municipalities of Maputo and Matola, in the south of the country, in terms of number of deputies, the opposition has gained due to the fact that it balances the assemblies where it is expected that there will be balanced debate and decision-making.
Because of the prevailing situation, ”The people have lost hope in elections.”