Election protests in Mozambique
Protests erupted in Mozambique on Tuesday, with demonstrators criticizing alleged fraud in local elections. The opposition party called for the demonstrations, and police in the capital city, Maputo, deployed tear gas to disperse the crowds.
Election Results: Contested
Although the official results of Wednesday’s elections are still being tallied, most municipalities have already declared victory for the ruling party. However, the largest opposition party, Renamo, contests these results, particularly in Maputo.
Renamon’s President Addresses Demonstrators
Ossufo Momade, the president of Renamo, addressed a gathering in Maputo and urged people to participate in a national rally to denounce electoral fraud. He declared, “This is the beginning of the revolution in Mozambique.”
Demonstrations were recorded in cities including Chiure, Montepuez, Nampula, and the capital, Maputo. Over 48 million Mozambicans were registered to vote in their local elections across 65 municipalities.
History of Political Conflict
Mozambique endured a brutal civil war between the government party, Frelimo, and the rebel group, Renamo, from 1977 to 1992. The conflict had devastating economic and human costs, resulting in around one million deaths.
Frelimo’s Long-Standing Dominance
Since the end of the civil war in 1992, Frelimo has consistently won national elections and maintained power in most municipalities. Mozambique was a Portuguese colony before gaining independence in 1975.
The US embassy in Maputo raised concerns about “credible reports of irregularities on voting day and during the vote tabulation process.” Ambassadors emphasized the importance of a clean, transparent, and peaceful electoral process and called on Mozambican authorities to address allegations of irregularities seriously and impartially.
Calls for Accountability
The Mozambican Electoral Commission pledged accountability, stating that “all members involved in illegal practices will be held accountable if there is evidence.”
A police officer in Cabo Delgado province’s Chiure district fatally shot a 16-year-old child during election celebrations. Police claimed the shooting was accidental while dispersing protesters.
Reports of Police Actions
The local non-governmental organization Center for Public Integrity (CIP) reported that law enforcement officers opened fire on gatherings in multiple locations.