Opposition cries foul in ‘calm’ Mozambique elections

2014-10-16 09:08

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Maputo – Mozambicans voted in a closely fought test for the ruling Frelimo party, which has run the southern African country since independence from Portugal in 1975, with opposition parties crying foul.

Frelimo is facing growing discontent over a wealth gap that persists despite huge mineral resources, with fast economic growth sidestepping the bulk of a population that is among the world’s poorest.

But members of the two opposition parties later claimed they had discovered attempts to stuff ballots by the ruling party.

“A young man was shot [in the feet]. He tried to stop the Frelimo [local] secretary from stuffing boxes,” in central Sofala province, said Sandes Carmona, spokesperson for the fledgling MDM opposition party.

In northern Nampula province, riot police used tear gas to disperse a crowd that had gathered at a polling station to watch the counting, claimed the MDM representative in the area, Elias Nquiri.

Main opposition Renamo spokesperson, Adriano Muchunga, claimed police opened fire in Nampula, the largest electoral province.

The electoral commission, local and foreign observers confirmed some incidents had occurred, but said on the overall, voting went on fairly smoothly.

“There have been some incidents here and there but in general the situation is under control,” Paulo Cuinica, spokesperson for the national Electoral Commission said, adding voting went on “smoothly”.

“We noticed some irregularities. But I would say, all in all, until closing time it was fairly okay. It was calm,” European Union observer chief Judith Sargentini said.

Final results are not expected for two weeks.

Incumbent President Armando Guebuza, from Frelimo, is prohibited by the constitution from running for a third term.

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