Courts force rerun in Cuamba and Chókwè and demand data from election authorities in Maputo, but refuse to hear cases from Chiure and Vilankulo
Five district courts today made key rulings on the 11 October election. In Chókwè, Gaza, and Cuamba, Niassa, the courts ruled the elections must be held again. A Maputo court made an unprecedented ruling for transparency. And courts refused to hear cases in Chiure, Cabo Delgado, and Vilankulo, Inhambane, despite Renamo providing evidence that it had won.
Produce the data, court tells election commission, in unprecedented victory for transparency
Election commissions carry out their vote tabulations in secret, often rejecting or making changes to the results sheets (editais) submitted by the polling stations. They keep no record of the changes, and the revised data they use to calculate the final result results which they publish remains secret. Mozambique is unusual In democracies in allowing election authorities to make sweeping changes to the results in secret.
In an unprecedented ruling, in Maputo City the Nlhamankulo District Court today ordered the District Elections Commission (CDE) to hand over the original results sheets (editais) that were used to calculate the election outcome. The order today, quoted by the newspaper O País, gave the CDE a deadline of just 10 hours from the moment it received the notification.
Chiure Court refuses to hear Renamo complaint
The Churie district election commission (CDE) ruled that Frelimo had won, but the parallel count of all 62 polling stations produced by the civil society group Mais Integridade showed Renamo had won. Renamo submitted copies of the official editais from all 62 polling stations to the Chuire district court to prove it had won.
The court noted that the electoral law has different procedures and “it is true that the petition of appeal is not subject to any formalities”. Nevertheless the court said it could not hear the case because “it did not comply with the legal formalities for filing a complaint.” Despite the evidence, Renamo had to show why a district court should hear the complaint, and a pile of editais proving it won was not sufficient.
Vilankulo court also refuses to hear Renamo complaint
Renamo is caught in an impossible circle of the electoral law. In many cases complaints must first be made to election commissions and their rejection is then appealed to the court. But what happens if the elections commission does not respond, as often happens.
Renamo’s political delegate said that on Friday, 13 October, the party submitted a preliminary challenge to the District Electoral Commission, and on the same day it submitted a complaint to the Vilankulo court. He says that Renamo is still waiting for the CDE’s response. Renamo accuses the president of the District Elections Commission and the director of STAE of refusing to allow them to check the minutes and editais. The Vilankulo District Court refused to analyse and rule on Renamo’s complaint on the grounds that it did not meet the requirements for a prior challenge.
Re-runs in Cuamba and Chokwe
Local elections in the cities of Cuamba, Niassa, and Chókwè, Gaza, will be rerun because elections offenses made the 11 October vote there invalid.
The Cuamba District Judicial Court considered that there has been an unspecified “defects that affect the outcome of the elections” and therefore “declares the elections” of 11 October null and void. Considering “criminal matters”, the court also decided to start legal proceedings against the people involved in the fraud.
In Chókwè, Gaza, the District Court annulled the 11 October election because it was found that the District Election Commission did not issue credentials to the New Democracy (ND) party for its poll watchers, preventing it from supervising the elections at all polling stations.
The court ordered the CDE to accredit the ND delegates and that the elections be repeated in Chókwè. It also ordered that legal proceedings be opened against the offenders on the grounds that there was evidence of electoral malpractice.
The ND party complained to the courts that its delegates had not been accredited by the CDE. The president of the CDE claimed “superior orders” to deny accreditation to the ND delegates.
Renamo says it won 9 cities
Renamo President Ossufo Momade, speaking at the end of a Renamo Political Commission meeting Sunday, said Renamo had won 9 of the 65 municipalities. He claimed victory in: Matola, Maputo city, Nampula city, Quelimane, Nacala-a-Porto. Vilankulo, Angoche, Ilha de Moçambique, and Marracuene. Curiously, Momade did not include Chiure which Renamo clearly won.