Peaceful start to Mozambique elections despite early allegations of rigging


Polling stations have opened across Mozambique this morning, so far without reports of significant trouble or delays.

President Filipe Nyusi was among the first to vote, shortly after polls opened at 7am, at Josina Machel secondary school, close to his residence in Maputo. After voting, he told assembled media that the elections would be the most observed ever in Mozambique, in the region, and perhaps in Africa.

The run-up to the elections has been characterised by controversy over the accreditation of observers, with complaints that regime-friendly organisations have been accredited, while credible independent groups have not. A leading observer was also shot dead by police in Xai-Xai, capital of Gaza province.

After voting on Ilha de Mocambique, Renamo leader Ossufo Momade showed TV reporters a pre-marked ballot paper in favour of Frelimo — and said it was undemocratic, and the type of thing that “causes hostilities”.

The Sala da Paz, a consortium of local NGOs observing the elections, said on Facebook that pre-marked ballot papers in favour of Frelimo had been found in Molumbo, Zambezia province. Reports have also reached Zitamar News of pre-marked papers being found in Angoche, Nampula province.

At the Matahapwe polling centre in the port city of Nacala, each polling station had a queue of around 100 people by the time they opened at 7am.

At the Nhangono primary school at the coastal town of Bilene in the southern province of Gaza, voters had arrived from 4am to queue to vote. At 8am, one of the polling stations at the school had a queue of around 50 people; the other three had no queues, though their ballot boxes appeared already to contain tens of votes.

In Pemba and Quissanga, Cabo Delgado province, accredited observers were refused entry to polling stations by polling station presidents — the people appointed by election authority, STAE to run the polling stations — who demanded separate paper accreditation documents in addition to the official badges that observers wear around their necks, according to the Sala da Paz.

Follow the Zitamar Live Blog for regular election updates as the day unfolds.

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