Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Sadc Election Observer Mission headed by Defence and War Veterans Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri yesterday certified the Mozambican elections as peaceful and consistent with the regional body’s principles governing democratic elections.
In its preliminary statement issued by Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri in Maputo yesterday, the regional bloc comprising 61 observers said the political and security situation of presidential, legislative and provincial elections were peaceful with campaign rallies in areas observed proceeding unhindered, a situation that went on until voting day.
President Mnangagwa, who chairs the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, appointed Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri to head the Sadc Election Observer Mission.
“The Mission observed that the 15 October, 2019 elections in Mozambique were held in line with the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2015),” she said.
“The Mission also observed that CNE (National Electoral Commission) generally discharged its mandate in terms of the Constitution and Electoral Law of Mozambique including conducting training of polling officers, police, judges and journalists.”
Sadc commended the signing of the Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement between the Government of Mozambique and Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO), on 6 August, 2019.
The mission expressed concern on sporadic armed insurgencies in the northern parts of the country, as well as attacks on civilian vehicles in Manica, Sofala and Cabo Delgado provinces.
It also took note of the isolated incidents of violence and attacks reported in some districts such as Gondola, Gorongosa, Manhiça and Xai-Xai.
“In addition, despite the natural calamities caused by cyclones Idai and Kenneth that largely affected the provinces of Sofala and Cabo Delgado, the Technical Secretariat for the Administration of Elections (STAE) managed to provide tents, which were used as polling stations in areas where infrastructure was destroyed,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.
“The Mission is of the view that these developments did not compromise the overall conduct of the elections in the country.”
Some challenges were also observed which included the disputes surrounding the registration of voters in Gaza province, the outcome of which is yet to be advised by the Attorney-General, inadequate arrangements in some polling stations to enable the people with physical disabilities and special needs to vote, the tying up of the validity of voter registration to each electoral cycle in terms of the law which the mission felt it might pose financial and administrative challenges.
On access to the media, the mission said despite allegations of bias against the public media by some stakeholders, the mission observed that advertisement of campaign messages was generally extended to political parties in the elections.