Cablegate: Mozambique - Dhlakama Denounces Election Results,

Published: Thu 23 Dec 2004 02:32 PM
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
Sensitive but Unclassified - handle accordingly. Not for
internet distribution.
1. (SBU) On December 23, a day after the National Elections
Commission (CNE) declared Armando Guebuza and his party,
FRELIMO, the winners in the presidential and parliamentary
elections (reftel), Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the main
opposition party RENAMO, held a press conference in Maputo in
which he denounced the elections as fraudulent but appealed
for calm. Reading from a prepared text, Dhlakama alleged
that the reasons for his and RENAMO's losses were the
exclusion of voters in RENAMO areas from the registration
process, deliberate confusion with regard to polling places
and voter lists, use of intimidation tactics by the police,
ballot box stuffing, tampering with RENAMO ballots, and
finally the "introduction of more than one million votes" for
FRELIMO in computerized tabulations at the national level.
(Comment: The last accusation is particularly lacking in
credibility, as the final results were very similar to the
parallel vote tabulation (PVT) carried out by the National
Observatory and backed by the Carter Center. The PVT relied
on local vote records from a representative sample of polling
places and so was independent of any actions at the national
tabulation level. End comment.) Dhlakama said that none of
the 90 RENAMO deputies elected to the Assembly would take
their seats, adding that he would not join the State Council
in a position awarded the runner-up in the presidential race
because he was not the runner-up. He appealed for calm,
however. Answering a reporter's question, he promised that
neither he nor any RENAMO member would resort to fighting
over the outcome.
2. (SBU) Over the past several days there have been reports
of heightened concern over the reaction of RENAMO to the
election announcement, although we have not heard of any
significant demonstrations or protests. According to sources
in CNE, the Commission postponed by a day announcing the
election results because of the threat of demonstrations.
Meanwhile, a small group of religions leaders (Catholic,
Protestant, and Muslim) plan to call on President Chissano,
president-elect Guebuza and Dhlakama to urge Dhlakama to keep
any protests peaceful and urge Chissano and Guebuza to have
the police react with restraint to any peaceful protests.
3. (SBU) Comment: Although Dhlakama and his aides have been
saying that they may not be able to control their rank and
file, we have seen little evidence of tension. Dhlakama's
reaction is quite similar to the stance he and RENAMO took
after losing the 1999 elections by a much narrower margin,
under circumstances in which irregularities had a much
greater potential to affect the outcome. At that time,
several weeks after he threatened to boycott the Assembly,
RENAMO deputies took their seats. Bad feeling over the
election simmered on, however, and eleven months later a
demonstration in northern Mozambique turned violent. We do
not believe tensions here are as serious this time; at this
moment, with the streets busy with holiday shoppers, such a
turn of events is difficult to imagine.
4. (SBU) Separately, the European Union observer mission, the
Carter Center, and the National Observatory all have held
press conferences or issued statements this week on the
electoral process. The organizations were very critical of
many irregularities, including results in some polling places
that seemed to be the result of ballot stuffing. However,
all emphasized that the irregularities did not affect the
outcome of the presidential election, though some said they
had affected the distribution of a few seats in the Assembly.
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