Mozambicans took to the polls on Tuesday taking part in presidential, provincial and legislative elections, pitting the two main parties, Frelimo and Renamo against each other.
An elections observer group in Mozambique says president Filipe Nyusi is heading for a landslide victory in elections, according to its preliminary estimates.
Based on data from almost 2,500 polling stations out of a total of more than 20,000, the the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) estimates Nyusi will win 70.9% of the vote.
EISA programme officer Domingos Rosario said that during its count, the institute found that in many polling stations across seven different provinces, the number of votes greatly exceeded the number of voters registered at that station.
EISA estimates Momade will end up with around 21.4% of the vote while Daviz Simango, of smaller rival the Mozambique Democratic Movement, will secure 6.9%, Rosario told a news conference.
Official results from the electoral commission indicate that Nyusi has taken 74.6% of the presidential vote versus 20.2% for his main rival, Renamo candidate Momade, with two-thirds of polling stations processed.
Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo on Monday called on citizens to reject the results that have so far been released by the electoral commission.
With around 37% of the votes counted from roughly 13 million registered voters, Nyusi of the ruling Frelimo party had secured 74.6%, while opposition Renamo candidate Osuffo Momade had 20.2%.
After a meeting of its top officials on Monday in Maputo, Renamo said it had decided to challenge the results over allegations of registration irregularities, phantom voters and the intimidation of activists and candidates by security forces.
“The above-mentioned facts … reported here constitute predicted and punishable electoral offences under the law, as well as a denial of the most elementary principles of democracy and human rights,” said Renamo president Momade.
“We urge all Mozambicans not to accept this mega electoral fraud.”
Frelimo spokesman Caifadine Manasse said Renamo regularly complains about elections, despite being part of all the electoral bodies and having delegates at voting stations.
“Renamo is not serious about democracy,” he said.
Victory for Renamo in a number of provinces is seen as central to the survival of a peace pact signed in August. But early data suggests Renamo has already lost some of them.
According to electoral commission data, Frelimo had clinched nearly 80% of the vote compared to Renamo’s 17% in Tete province. In nearby Sofala, site of Renamo’s headquarters, the opposition had only 20% versus Frelimo’s nearly 66% of votes.
Renamo hoped to win control of such provinces to satisfy a long-thwarted demand for influence: for the first time after the election, provincial governors will be appointed by the majority party in each province rather than by the government.
The main opposition party, Renamo on Saturday accused the ruling Frelimo party of violating a recently signed peace deal, by using ‘violence and intimidation’ to pursue political objectives.
With around 39% of the votes counted from roughly 13 million registered voters, incumbent president Filipe Nyusi has taken a lead securing 68.85%, while his main competitor Osuffo Momade of the Renamo party has racked up 26.20% of the vote so far.
The secretary general of Renamo, Andre Magibire, said the party was unhappy with the way Tuesday’s presidential, legislative and provincial elections were carried out and that there had been “massive fraud”.
Frelimo’s spokesman Caifadine Manasse said elections were fair, free and transparent and would not affect the peace agreement.
This election was seen as make or break for the peace pact, which put a formal end to decades of hostility between Renamo and Frelimo.
The two fought on opposite sides of a civil war that ended in a truce in 1992, but have clashed sporadically in the years since.
Magibire said Renamo would hold a meeting on Monday to decide its next steps.
The opposition Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM) denounced a “shameful electoral process”.
In a statement issued on Friday, the MDM expressed its “indignation” and “rejection” of the electoral process.
“We claim that there has been fraud,” the party added, “these elections were neither fair, free nor transparent.’‘
The main opposition party, Renamo has refrained from making any official comments since Tuesday’s election.
Mozambique’s electoral commision released first results of Tuesday’s presidential and legislative elections, which indicated that the incumbent president and the ruling party had taken an early lead.
After counting 830,000 ballots cast, representing just over 6% of the 13.1 million registered voters, the current head of state, Filipe Nyusi, who is running for a second term, has polled nearly 75% of the votes, according to the results published by the NEC on its website on Friday.
The main opposition candidate, Ossufo Momade, leader of the main opposition party Renamo, the former rebellion of the civil war (1975-1992), received 20% of the votes, according to the same results.
At the last presidential election, Mr. Nyusi won with 58% of the votes in front of the historical leader of the Renamo Afonso Dhlakama (37%).
In the legislative elections, Frelimo, which has led Mozambique since its independence from Portugal in 1975, is well ahead with 70% of the votes after counting 750,000 ballots, ahead of Renamo with 22% of the votes, according to initial results.
The NEC is scheduled to announce the results of the provincial elections on Monday, which also took place on Tuesday.