Cablegate: Mozambique 2004 General Elections: End-September Update

Published: Wed 6 Oct 2004 09:31 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
(B) MAPUTO 1280
(C) MAPUTO 1183
(D) MAPUTO 1154
(E) MAPUTO 1001
1. Sensitive but unclassified. Please handle accordingly. Not
for internet distribution.
2 - Summary
3 - New Electoral Law
4 - Election Statistics
5 - Parliamentary Elections
6 - Presidential Candidates Deliver Nomination Papers
7 - First, Unreliable Presidential Poll Says Guebuza Ahead
8 - Comment
2. (SBU) On December 1 and 2, Mozambique will hold multi-party
presidential and parliamentary elections. The current president,
Joaquim Chissano, will step down after having served since 1986,
winning elections in 1994 and 1999. To date, six presidential
candidates have delivered their nomination papers to the
Constitutional Commission, thus officially declaring their intent
to run. Political parties have also been busy compiling their
candidate lists for the parliamentary elections with some
surprises in the lists reported so far. Mozambican electoral
authorities estimate just over 9 million Mozambicans are
registered to vote. A new electoral law introduced this year has
introduced some significant changes that most believe will
increase transparency in the electoral process. Though leading
presidential candidates Armando Guebuza of FRELIMO and Afonso
Dhlakama of RENAMO have called for a transparent and peaceful
process, there are signs of increasing tensions. End Summary.
The New Electoral Law
3. (U) The new electoral law passed on July 17 introduced
significant changes that respond to some problems experienced in
previous elections. For example, in an attempt to reduce errors
made by tired polling station staff, vote tallies on the formal
result sheets must now be written in both figures and words.
Also, voting can no longer be extended for a third day. In
response to the omission of some party symbols from ballot papers
in last year's municipal election, political parties will now be
invited by the National Electoral Commission (CNE) to proofread
sample ballot papers before official ones are printed. The new
law also allows accredited polling staff, security forces, and
journalists to vote at any polling station, even if they are not
registered at the specific site. While intermediary counting will
still be done at provincial level, under the new law results will
also be published district-by-district.
4. (SBU) Responding to complaints from the opposition and
observers about FRELIMO's use of government vehicles and
facilities during campaigning, the law introduces a ban on the use
of any goods or property of central government, local government,
or state-owned or controlled companies for campaigning purposes.
Despite this new statute, RENAMO continues to report the use of
public property for campaigning purposes by FRELIMO (Ref B). In
an attempt to increase transparency, candidates and political
agents are now entitled to a duly signed and stamped copy of the
minutes and tally sheet of the intermediary count at the
provincial and national counting levels. Such copies can also be
forwarded to election observers and journalist, if requested.
RENAMO party officials have praised for this new statute,
asserting it will stifle FRELIMO's ability to "steal" the
elections, as it claims they have in past elections (Ref A).
5. (U) Some changes introduced for the 2003 local elections remain
in place, including the ban on publishing of opinion polls between
the start of the campaign and the declaration of results, the
requirement that at least two of the five polling station staff
speak the local language, and that polling station staff are to be
hired in a public competition.
Election Statistics
6. (U) Voter registration in Mozambique, as regulated by Law
18/2002, is conducted on an annual basis. Voter registration
updates serve to register newly eligible voters, record transfers
for citizens who have moved out of their previous voting district,
and replace lost or stolen voter cards. More than 1.2 million
voters across 2494 polling stations were registered in this year's
update process held from June 28 to July 15, nearly double the
700,000 predicted by Technical Secretariat for Electoral
Administration (STAE). The following is the official breakdown of
voter registration updates released by STAE on September 11.
--------------------------------------------- ---------------------
Province New Transfers Replacements Total
--------------------------------------------- ---------------------
Niassa 34,571 9,091 18,798 62,460
Cabo Delgado 57,028 19,251 25,296 101,575
Nampula 134,665 33,908 69,058 237,631
Zambezia 128,863 31,577 71,504 231,944
Tete 61,832 11,860 14,096 87,788
Manica 43,280 13,291 17,065 73,636
Sofala 62,248 21,956 34,165 118,369
Inhambane 33,063 18,741 12,810 64,614
Gaza 44,834 23,141 23,020 90,995
Maputo Province 42,281 18,025 18,413 78,719
Maputo City 55,260 16,502 26,478 98,240
--------------------------------------------- ---------------------
GRAND TOTAL 697,925 217,343 330,703 1,245,971
7. (U) Adding the number of 2004 updated registrations to the
existing voter base from 1999 and 2003, STAE calculates the total
Mozambican voter "universe" at approximately 9 million. Carter
Center estimates are slightly more conservative at 8.5 million.
8. (SBU) This year's registration process was observed by both the
national Electoral Observatory and the Carter Center. Though in
its registration update report, the Carter Center stated it found
procedures were fair and generally implemented in a uniform
manner, there were reports of some stations being forced to halt
registrations, sometimes for several days, when materials ran out.
In a formal complaint, RENAMO stated that 100 people had been
turned away by a polling station in Angoche, Nampula province, due
to a shortage of registration materials. During a September 24
meeting with Emboffs, the Carter Center also cited some reports of
intimidation in Tete province.
9. (U) Registration of Mozambicans living abroad took place for
the first time between September 4 and 25 at Mozambican embassies
and consulates in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland,
Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya in Africa and Portugal and Germany in
Europe. Whether or not those registered will be able to vote ,
however, is now in question due to the unexpectedly low
registration numbers. Fewer than 22,000 Mozambicans registered
during the 3-week period ending on September 25, well under STAE's
estimate of 300,000 Mozambicans of voting age residing in the nine
countries where registration took place. In the event CNE decides
not to hold elections in the two external constituencies (Africa
and Europe), as is expected due to the low registration numbers,
two parliamentary seats that had been reserved for them will be
redistributed to Manica Province and Maputo City.
Parliamentary Elections
10. (U) On September 4, CNE announced the breakdown of the 250
parliamentary seats at stake in the December general elections.
Assuming no elections are held abroad (ref paragraph 9), the
breakdown is as follows:
--------------------------------------------- ------
Province Number of
Parliamentary Seats
--------------------------------------------- ------
Niassa 12
Cabo Delgado 22
Nampula 50
Zambezia 48
Tete 18
Manica 15
Sofala 22
Inhambane 16
Gaza 17
Maputo Province 13
Maputo City 17
--------------------------------------------- ------
11. (SBU) Deputies to the Mozambican parliament are elected
through a system of delegate lists compiled by party members at
the provincial level and approved by the central party political
commissions. There have been some surprises in this year's
preliminary provincial lists. Ossufo Quitine, current chairman of
the RENAMO parliamentary bench, failed to be elected in his
constituency of Nampula, as did senior party member and current
parliamentarian David Aloni. Quitine, speaking to the Mozambican
press, brushed aside this apparent lack of popularity,
characterizing the Renamo elections in Nampula as "a joke in bad
taste." Sergio Vieira and Mariano Matsinhe, both leading Frelimo
parliamentarians and former security ministers under Machel, also
failed to be elected during FRELIMO's provincial electoral
conferences. Other FRELIMO heavyweights who did not make the
party list are current Minister of Foreign Affairs Leonardo Simao
and current Minister of Industry and Energy Castigo Langa (Note:
Under the Mozambican parliamentary system, individuals who hold
public titles may not serve in the parliament at the same time
that he/she holds public office. Nevertheless, an individual may
chose to run for parliament and, if elected, the party will select
which position he/she will hold. Some believe that the attempt by
Simao and Langa to gain a spot on the list of FRELIMO deputies
points to an imminent departure from their respective ministries.
End note.)
12. (SBU) There is speculation among some that the final
delegation lists may change before the election date. Although
widely reported in the press, the names of party candidates for
the 11 provincial constituencies are not final until the parties'
Political Commissions have approved and presented them to CNE. To
date, neither FRELIMO nor RENAMO have submitted their delegate
lists, leaving open the possibility for last minute changes.
13. (SBU) RENAMO will again run as the RENAMO-Electoral Union with
its coalition of 10 small parties. In a somewhat unexpected
change, Carlos Reis' National Union of Mozambique (UNAMO) withdrew
from the coalition, replaced by the Ecological Party of Mozambique
(PEMO). There are some RENAMO members who are opposed to the
coalition, arguing that these minor parties simply take advantage
of the RENAMO banner to gain seats in parliament. Nevertheless,
RENAMO leadership apparently prefers to keep them in the coalition
rather than allow a potential dispersal of votes.
--------------------------------------------- ----
Presidential Candidates Deliver Nomination Papers
--------------------------------------------- ----
14. (U) Six presidential candidates for the December general
election have delivered their nomination papers to the
Constitutional Council, including ruling party FRELIMO candidate
Armando Guebuza and opposition party RENAMO presidential hopeful
Afonso Dhlakama. Guebuza was first to deliver his nomination
papers, presenting more than 50,000 signatures supporting his
nomination. Dhlakama delivered his credentials on September 29,
supplying over 58,000 supporting signatures. Others to deliver
their nominations papers and the requisite minimum of 10,000
supporting signatures are Raul Domingos of the Party for Peace,
Democracy and Development (PDD); Joaquim Nhota of the Democratic
Liberal Party of Mozambique (PADELIMO); Yaqub Sibindy of the
Independent Party of Mozambique (PIMO); and Neves Pinto Serrano of
the Liberal Progress Party of Mozambique (PPLM).
15. (SBU) Although formal campaigning does not start until October
17, FRELIMO's Guebuza has been active in the run up to the
elections, making trips to all 11 provinces, as well as visits to
the Europe, South Africa, and the United States (Ref D). During
his recent visit to South Africa, Guebuza met with numerous
business entities in what some opine is an attempt to quell
investor fears about his likely election. Although RENAMO's
Dhlakama and PDD's Raul Domingos have been less active, both have
made trips in recent months within the country and abroad,
including visits to the United States (Refs C and E).
--------------------------------------------- ---------
First, Unreliable Presidential Poll Says Guebuza Ahead
--------------------------------------------- ---------
16. (SBU) According to an opinion poll published by the Higher
Polytechnic and University Institute (ISPU), one of Mozambique's
private universities, FRELIMO holds an overwhelming lead in this
year's presidential race. However, the validity of the opinion
poll, taken over a 5-day period with a sample of 9,000 voters from
Maputo City, the northern province of Nampula, and the central
provinces of Sofala and Zambezia, has come under fire due to its
lack of balance and questionable methodology. Despite claims that
the sample was geographically unbiased, nearly a third of the
respondents came from Maputo City. The survey has also raised
questions about the effectiveness of opinion polls in Mozambique.
It is widely acknowledged that there is a tendency for those
surveyed to provide what they perceive as "politically correct"
responses, thus skewing results towards the party affiliation of
the pollster. A September 16 local press report said that the
IPSU professor who conducted the poll did so at the request of the
FRELIMO party.
17. (SBU) Tensions have run high in the months leading up to this
year's general elections. Both major political parties, RENAMO
and FRELIMO, have reported acts of intimidation and political
harassment on the part of the other (Refs B and D). In response
to these threats, both have taken steps to mobilize old war
veterans ("antigos combatentes"), an act that could perpetuate
further clashes between the two political opponents and endanger
the potential for nonviolent elections. It is not yet clear how
smoothly the December elections will run, both Guebuza and
Dhlakama have stressed the importance of a peaceful and
transparent electoral process, and have committed publicly to
upholding this goal. End comment.
La Lime
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media