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Mozambique Political Process Bulletin 70: Administrator car burned; no plans to shut internet

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Source: 2019 General Elections – Mozambique Political Process Bulletin

Gondola administrator’s car attacked and burned

Five people were injured and a protocol vehicle of the Gondola administrator, Moguen Candieiro, was reduced to ashes as a result of an attack by gunmen in Amatongas, Gondola district, Manica. The attack occurred yesterday afternoon (8 October) in the Pinangonga region whren the district administrator was campaigning for Frelimo.

While the rally was taking place, the attackers moved into a community leader’s residence and severely beat him. Informed of the incident, the administrator sent the car with to help him. The attackers then open fired on the Toyota Hilux D4D, injuring four police officers. When they abandoned the car, it was set on fire.

Manica Police Chief of Public Relations, Mário Arnaça, confirmed the attack and said: “In light of General Nhongo’s latest pronouncements, it appears that the authors may belong to the self-proclaimed leader of the Renamo Military Junta.”

At an Armed Forces Day rally (25 September), Candieiro stated that Frelimo will continue to govern at all costs (See Bulletin 60). “We will not surrender power”, he said, and ridiculed opposition parties, our correspondents reported.

Gondola district has been the target of two other attacks by gunmen since the start of the election campaign in Zimpinga and Amatongas.

Keeping the internet open for a free election

No plans to cut or restrict the internet are indicated for the 15 October election. Other countries have cut social media and internet during elections, but Mozambique has a good record of not blocking internet. Even during the disputed counts after the municipal elections last year, communications remained normal. Indeed, international communications have only been cut twice – in 1983 after the South African air raid on Matola international telephone links were cut, and in 2010 during the Maputo riots SMS text messaging was blocked.

The internet and social media are now seen as an essential part of free and fair elections. In some countries messaging services such Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have been blocked during the counting process, when there is the highest risk of manipulation, and also to allow the ruling party to announce results in advance of the parallel count. In some cases some internet services such as Google are blocked and in others internet access is completely closed. netblocks.org monitors shutdowns, which means they are quickly reported on the BBC and elsewhere.

Two of Mozambique’s neighbours have blocked the internet and social media. Malawi partially shut down the internet and social media during the counting after the 21 May elections and only restored service after the results were announced. Netblocks.org reports that only government controlled services were affected, and not privately owned ones. The shutdown affected reporting by observers.

On 15 January Zimbabwe blocked Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Pinterest and Tinder for a week and blocked the entire internet sporadically, but service was restored on 21 January after High Court Judge Owen Tagu ruled the shutdown illegal and told mobile operators to immediately and unconditionally resume full services.

On 31 December 2018 after contested elections, the Democratic Republic of Congo closed not only social media and internet, but mobile telephones and landlines as well.

Election shutdowns in the past year have included Mauritania (25 June. total internet shutdown); Indonesia (22 May, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Telegram blocked); Benin (28 April and 1 May, all service); and Cameroon (21 October 2018, Facebook and Whatsapp only)

And on 11 June Ethiopia cut social messaging and internet to prevent cheating in national examinations.

Blocking social media and internet has occurred in some places, but has generated hostile international reactions. Most of Africa, and the rest of the world, does not resort to shutdowns to control election news — and there is no indication that Mozambique will change its present policy of free and open internet and social media during elections.

Russians help Frelimo backers to break the law

The Russian International Anticrisis Centre (IAC), which already intervened in the South Africa election, is now backing Frelimo in the Mozambican election. Frelimo’s social media supporters network is widely – and illegally – posting a very questionable report from the IAC.

Mozambican law bans the carrying out and publication of opinion polls during the election campaign period. As in many countries, the view is that people should not be influenced by opinion polls but should make up their own mind.

Yet the IAC says it interviewed 3124 people in Mozambique in September about their views on Frelimo – which would be illegal if it had actually happened. Frelimo backers clearly like the result and it has been widely published on Facebook and other social media, and the electoral law (art 216 of law 2/2019) makes clear that publication of opinion polls now, during the campaign, could be punished by up to one year in jail. Will the attorney general prosecute?

But it is also probably fake news. The figures are highly dubious, giving President Nyusi a higher popularity rating in Nampula than in Gaza.

Russia has tried to influence various elections including that of Donald Trump in the US and Brexit in Britain. It backed the ANC in South Africa according to the London Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/08/documents-suggest-russian-plan-to-sway-south-africa-election

Fake News: China to build nuclear landfills in Mozambique

There is news circulating on social networks that Ossufo Momade has signed a partnership agreement with the Chinese Atomic Corporation. “Under the agreement signed, in return for support for Renamo, China will receive land for the organization of a nuclear waste landfill. We talk about Gaza province,” reads the alleged news item. The information is false, this Bulletin finds.

Renamo spokesman Venancio Mondlane said: “The story is false and can only be part of some theatre.”

Frelimo continues to collect voter cards

Frelimo members continue to collect voter cards across the country, despite the president of the National Election Commission (CNE) Sheik Abdul Carimo publicly condemning the practice and calling it illegal. But new cases reported are by our correspondents.

In Moma district, Nampula, two Frelimo cell secretaries, João Alberto and Henrique Mulelo, collected voter cards in the Ecucuhô neighborhood. “The collection of cards is to make the best control of our members to know who voted and who did not vote,” João Alberto told our correspondent yesterday (8 October).

In the village of Nhandiro, Mavonde, Manica, a Renamo member couple was surprised by a Frelimo brigade, which required voter cards. Frelimo supporters threatened that if they did not hand over the cards they would retaliate.

In the Nampula-Rapale district, Renamo district delegate Manuel dos Santos accuses some trainers of polling station officials (MMV’s) of collecting voter card numbers (but not the actual cards) at Frelimo’s request. According to the delegate, the cases took place yesterday (8 October), in rooms 7 and 9 of the Ehiline primary school, located in the village centre. Leonardo Francisco and João Samuel Saissa were accused of being responsible for the alleged collection of card numbers. CNE head Carimo said that even collection of numbers is illegal.

“Our members were told to fill in their names and voter card numbers on a form whose fate is unknown,” said dos Santos, who alleges that the district director of STAE organised the collection of names and number. But STAE Rapale District Director Orlando António Dias refutes all accusations and accuses Renamo’s delegate of trying to derail the training of MMVs that started last Wednesday (October 3rd) across the country.

Armed Forces Attack Insurgents But Too Late to Save Elections

The army shelled an insurgent base in Cabo Delgado on the night of 7-8 October, “which resulted in the annihilation of a considerable number of the wrongdoers,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement issued today. The artillery shelling was in the Mbau region, between the Messalo and Muera rivers, in the Mocimboa da Praia district.

Insurgents have been attacking villages in northern Cabo Delgado, driving people off their land, burning entire villages and making the election campaign unfeasible. Many people fled their villages and polling stations – usually schools – have been destroyed.


Editor: Joseph Hanlon | Publisher: Edson Cortez | News Editor: Borges Nhamire

Reporters: Aldemiro Bande, Magda Mendonça, Sheila Nhancale, Graciano Claudio, João Machassel
Published by CIP, Centro de Integridade Pública (Public Integrity Centre),
Rua Fernão Melo e Castro, no 124, Maputo. eleicoes@cipmoz.org bit.ly/GenEl2019

ARTICLES MAY BE FREELY REPRINTED but please cite the source: “2019 General Elections – Mozambique Political Process Bulletin”.

Previous newsletters are posted on http://bit.ly/2H066Kg

There are two archives of historic elections data, at IESE on http://www.iese.ac.mz/eleicoes-resultado/ and at London School of Economics on http://bit.ly/MozElDaa. The LSE archive now has detailed 2013 and 2014 results, by polling station.

© 2019, ZITAMAR NEWS. All rights reserved.

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