Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mozambique: Despite Isolated Cases of Voilence, Election Campaign Mostly Calm

Although violence in Gaza and Nampula has drawn the headlines, 108 of our journalists across the country report that in most places the campaign has been calm and without confrontations.

Interventions by CNE president Abdul Carimo meeting with all three presidential candidates stopped any escalation of violence after the incidents in Gaza and Nampula. MDM saw the demonstration in Nampula with the mock coffin of Nyusi as a response to violence by Frelimo in Gaza.

Frelimo was determined to respond, but Carimo flew to Beira to talk to Frelimo presidential candidate Filipe Nyusi and convinced him that further violence would make Frelimo look bad. Since then, the only report of violence is one incident in Nampula (see below).

As well as the widespread lack of incidents, our journalists report very little use of state cars - in sharp contrast to previous elections. This appears to reflect the extensive reporting of use of state cars by this Bulletin and other media; also Frelimo has hired and purchased many cars this year.

Complaints continue of a strategy by Frelimo militants to disrupt MDM caravans and rallies. But outside Gaza this has not lead serious confrontations.

Interestingly, Frelimo does not seem to be disrupting Renamo campaigning.

Complaints do continue about police bias, and that only opposition supporters and never Frelimo supporters are arrested. Police have complained that the opposition parties do not inform them in advance of campaign activity, which is partly confirmed by those parties who in turn say that when they tell the police, Frelimo is informed and arrives to cause disruption.

Ballot papers stolen from delivery lorry

26 boxes of ballot papers were stolen from a container on the back of a delivery lorry parked at the Inchope crossroads, Manica, Thursday night or Friday morning. The driver and the two policeman who were supposed to be guarding the cargo have been arrested. The hired lorry was supposed to be delivering the container from Maputo to Zambezia, and the stolen ballot papers were for five polling stations in Pebane and one in Namacurra, said STAE spokesman Lucas Jose.

Replacement ballot papers have already been ordered, STAE Director-general Felisberto Naife told AIM. He stressed that all ballot papers are numbered and these will not be able to be used because numbers in the wrong series will be rejected during the count.

Gondola police commander told Esperanca Fernando our local journalist that the lorry is being held in Chimoio and the driver and two police are being held in the Chimoio jail.

State car in Frelimo campaign in crash with train; 1 dead

A car carrying Frelimo supporters back from a rally was hit by a goods train on the Sena line on Wednesday 1 October, killing one person and seriously injuring others. The car is a government vehicle which was being used illegally in the campaign. It was from the District Planning and Infrastructure Services (Servicos Distritais da Planeamento e Infraestruturas) in Dondo and has painted on it PADR for Programa de Apoio para o Desenvolvimento Rural. It was a Toyota registration ABL 778 MP. The accident occurred at Sevene, Dondo district, Sofala province.

The cars was carrying Frelimo supporters back from a rally held by the number two of the Frelimo provincial campaign, governor Felix Paulo.

Dondo police refused to comment.

Frelimo interrupts Renamo campaign, so Renamo gets arrested

When Renamo members arrived in Waresta market, Nampula city, on Thursday around noon, they were blocked by Frelimo members who tried to stop them campaigning. In the resulting skirmish, one person was seriously injured. Eight people were arrested, all Renamo, and that party accuses the police of defending the Frelimo members who beat up Renamo people.

Five Renamo members are still detained and three have been released.

Teachers told to return to classrooms

In Chiure, Cabo-Delgado, at least 20 teachers have been order to leave the training to be polling station staff by the local director of education, Fernando Ticho, because they did not ask permission to take time off in order to work in polling stations and be trained.

Even a police car for Nyusi campaigners

When Frelimo presidential candidate Filipe Nyusi visited Massinga, Inhambane, on Thursday 2 October the local government gave him full support. A municipal police white Toyota, ABJ 308 MP, was photographed carrying Frelimo supporters. A municipal Toyota Hilux AAF 012 MP was seen at the Nyusi rally being used by the Frelimo district secretary Victorino Sique. A district administration Toyota Hilux ACJ 995 MP was also noted participating in the rally. (Photos in the attached pdf version.)

Calm returns to Macia

After earlier Frelimo violence against MDM in Macia, Gaza, on 23 September, calm has returned to the town. Frelimo held recent rallies in the town centre, while MDM has stressed door-to-door canvassing, and Renamo is hardly to be seen.

Three parties share the poster space

At the roundabout at the junction of 25 de Setembro and Eduardo Mondlane avenues in Pemba, the three main parties are carefully sharing the poster space, maintaining calm and not creating a situation where posters are put over each other in this key spot. Eduardo Mulembwe, Frelimo political commission member who watched the three parties pasting up their posters, called it unprecedented and said "it is good to see such tolerance and understanding."

Stolen banner recovered

Three people sneaked into the Renamo headquarters in Xinavane, Manhica, Maputo province and took the party's only banner. Renamo members chased them and the thieves eventually dropped the banner and ran off.

Violence condemned

A vehement condemnation of electoral violence was issued Wednesday by the Human Rights League (Liga Mocambicana dos Direitos Humanos, LDH), Public Integrity Centre (Centro de Integridade Publica, CIP) and the Community Radios Forum (Forum das Radios Comunitarias, FORCOM). They criticised the "lack of action" by police and electoral authorities and warned that this opens the space for more agitation and violence in the final two weeks of the campaign.

The violence is a threat to the consolidation of democracy, they said.

They warned of the danger that parties will try to defend certain regions as fiefdoms that other parties cannot enter. They also criticised the "transformation of publicly owned information media into instruments of electoral propaganda".

Source: Mozambique News Reports & Clippings

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