Mozam­bique op­po­si­tion cries foul over elec­tion re­sults

Gulf Times - - AFRICA -

Mozam­bique’s Re­n­amo op­po­si­tion yes­ter­day ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of fal­si­fy­ing lo­cal elec­tion re­sults in sev­eral ar­eas, warning that such a move could prompt it to aban­don peace talks.

The coun­try went to the polls on Oc­to­ber 10 in a key test for the on­go­ing peace talks be­tween the rul­ing Fre­limo party and Re­n­amo — ne­go­ti­a­tions which be­gan in 2016 to end three years of vi­o­lence be­tween gov­ern­ment troops and Re­n­amo rebels.

“We do not want war but we also do not ac­cept any at­tempt to change the pop­u­lar will,” Re­n­amo’s act­ing leader Os­sufo Mo­made told re­porters.

Although the of­fi­cial re­sults have not yet been pub­lished, Re­n­amo says the party had been cheated of vic­tory in one ma­jor city and three other towns, ac­cus­ing elec­tion of­fi­cials of tam­per­ing with the re­sults.

“If the pop­u­lar vote is not re­spected, Re­n­amo will break off the ne­go­ti­a­tions and the con­se­quences will be en­tirely the re­spon­si­bil­ity of (Pres­i­dent Filipe Nyusi) and the Fre­limo Party,” he said.

Par­tial re­sults from a third of Mozam­bique’s 53 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, re­leased Thurs­day, gave Fre­limo a clear lead, although Re­n­amo claims to have won in dozens of ar­eas, in­clud­ing in Mat­ulo, the coun­try’s most heav­ily-pop­u­lated city.

Fre­limo, which has ruled Mozam­bique since its in­de­pen­dence from Por­tu­gal in 1975, cur­rently con­trols 49 of the coun­try’s 53 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Wed­nes­day’s vote was the first time Re­n­amo has con­tested a lo­cal elec­tion in 10 years, with the party hop­ing to make a break­through ahead of next year’s gen­eral elec­tions.

In the mid-1970s, Re­n­amo fought a bru­tal 16-year civil war against the Fre­limo gov­ern­ment that left a mil­lion peo­ple dead be­fore the fighting stopped in 1992.

Fresh vi­o­lence erupted in 2013 be­tween Re­n­amo rebels and gov­ern­ment troops, rais­ing fears of a re­turn to civil war, but the party de­clared a truce in 2016 and opened fresh peace talks.

Nyusi and Re­n­amo’s Mo­made had re­cently made progress on a key stick­ing point in the peace talks — the dis­ar­ma­ment and in­te­gra­tion of for­mer Re­n­amo rebels into the po­lice and army.

But Mo­made ac­cused Nyusi of “silent com­plic­ity” over the in­tim­i­da­tion and at­tacks on Re­n­amo sup­port­ers dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign, al­leg­ing his party was look­ing to push Re­n­amo “into a new cy­cle of con­flict”.

As well as in­ter­nal po­lit­i­cal ten­sions, this south­ern African na­tion has also been strug­gling with the emer­gence of an Is­lamist in­sur­gency in the north­ern coastal re­gion which has killed scores of civil­ians and po­lice.

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