MAPUTO (AFP) – Observers for a southern African regional bloc declared Mozambique’s national elections free and fair Friday, after the main opposition Renamo party rejected provisional results.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) said Wednesday’s presidential and legislative elections “were generally peaceful, transparent, free and fair and credible”.
The ruling Frelimo party earlier said it would rely on observers to validate the elections in the face of Renamo crying foul over partial results which put Frelimo ahead.
Early tallies and projections showed Frelimo’s candidate Filipe Nyusi headed for victory with around 60 per cent of the vote while Renamo’s Afonso Dhlakama was struggling to win 30 per cent of the ballots.
Renamo said the vote had been seriously flawed and claimed that Dhlakama had won outright, raising the spectre of post-election violence.
SADC – which is made up of 15 member governments – has previously been criticised for overlooking irregularities in polls from Zimbabwe to Malawi.
“Both national and international observers were there and watched the process. They will be able to say whether what Renamo says is true or not,” Frelimo’s spokesman, Damiao Jose told AFP.
“In Frelimo’s opinion these elections took place in a calm, orderly, and transparent way. A few incidents… do not put into question the normal functioning of the process,” Jose said. “It went very, very well.”
Renamo pointed to “serious irregularities”, including people voting more than once, ballot stuffing and polls opening late or not at all.
The Electoral Commission, which has admitted several “incidents” had occurred, was yet to hear from Renamo before it gives a formal reaction.