|December 9, 2004
Parallel count shows overwhelming Frelimo victory
A parallel count of the results from Mozambique's general elections held last week, undertaken by an alliance of respected religious bodies and NGOs, has shown an overwhelming victory for the ruling Frelimo Party and its presidential candidate, Armando Guebuza. The Electoral Observatory consists of seven members including the Christian council of Mozambique (representing the main protestant churches), the Islamic Council, the Catholic Bishops Conference, and the Human Rights League. With technical assistance from the Atlanta-based Carter Centre, the Observatory drew up a representative sample of 792 out of the 13,744 polling stations, and collected the results from them. The sample was chosen to eliminate, as far as possible, any regional bias and present a true cross-section of the electorate.
The result is devastating for the main opposition party, Renamo, and its leader Afonso Dhlakama, who has now lost three presidential elections in a row. The Observatory sample shows Guebuza winning the election with about 60 per cent of all valid votes. On this sample, Dhlakama is projected to win only 30-31 per cent of the vote. In the parliamentary election, Frelimo is projected also to win about 60 per cent, while Renamo is on course for between 29 and 31 per cent.
The Observatory count confirms the extremely poor showing by the Party for Peace, Democracy and Development, set up by Raul Domingos, once the number two figure in Renamo. Domingos himself has won between three and four per cent in the presidential election, and in the parliamentary election the PDD will not reach the five per cent of the national vote needed to enter parliament.
On Thursday Brazao Mazula, Vice-Chancellor of Maputo's Eduardo Mondlane University, representing the Electoral Observatory, delivered copies of the parallel count to the National Elections Commission, and to the main presidential candidates. Speaking to the press after his meeting with Guebuza, Mazula said the Observatory will issue a full report on its findings after the official results have been published. Despite such a respected body having delivered its verdict, unofficial though it is, there is no sign of Renamo conceding defeat. Instead Renamo members of the electoral bodies, and the Renamo technical staff appointed in the provinces and nationally are deliberately delaying the production of the official results.
Repeatedly Renamo officials demand an end to computerised vote tabulation, and insist on manual compilation of the results from the polling station result sheets ("editais"), no matter how long that might take. One source in the electoral bodies told AIM that, while Frelimo staff turn up on time for such tasks as vote tabulation, or reclassifying all the votes declared invalid at the polling stations, their Renamo counterparts turn up hours late, and will sometimes interrupt the work to rush off to Renamo meetings - even though no electoral staff are supposed to take instructions from their political parties. And when the Renamo staff are not present, no work can be done.