If only part of a gross fraud is appealed to the Constitutional Council (CC), then the fraud can be ignored, the CC ruled Monday (30 Oct). This reverses a policy set in 2014 when the CC forced a re-run of the elections in Gurué because of “flagrant violations of the law on the part of polling station staff and the Zambezia Provincial Electoral Commission.” In that case, the CC actually carried out its own investigation to confirm widespread fraud.
This year the CC was ruling on complaints about Marromeu and Alto Molocue, and changed its policy. We reported that in both the misconduct was so widespread, starting with the registration, that the results were not credible. But the CC said that the parties did not identify enough individual frauds to change the results, so they could be ignored.
For Alto Molocue we said “The chaos from beginning to end makes the election in Alto Molocue totally corrupt and unacceptable.” There had been disruption and confusion in the registration and we estimated that Frelimo registered at least 1,549 people from outside the municipality, so they could vote in the election. At the end of the registration, observers could not inspect one-third of register books, and many voter never received the voters card.
On voting day there was significant ballot box stuffing and three polling stations had more people voting that there were registered voters.
Observers were barred from the count in 13 polling stations. In at least 16 polling stations the count was illegally delayed and the editais were not posted until well after midnight.
In Marromeu we did a parallel count in 28 polling stations, and we found 11 of that group had ballot box stuffing. We could do this by comparing editais at the same school, and by comparing numbers written on the classroom blackboard during the count with the edital. For example, at Julius Nyerere school, two polling stations showed 88% and 83% turnout, and the edital had 124 and 232 more votes for Frelimo than were on the blackboard. Polling stations in the same school where the edital agreed with the blackboard had turnouts of 51% to 69%. The official high turnout is ghost voters added to the edital.