Maputo, 8 November 2019 - The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) initiated its activities in Mozambique on 31 August 2019 and deployed 170 observers for election day. Observers remained in the country until the completion of the district and provincial tabulation of results. Following the Preliminary Statement, issued by the EU EOM on 17 October with the findings observed up until election day, the mission is now communicating its further findings.
EU observers detected a number of irregularities and malpractices on election day and during the results management process. Irregularities included ballot-box stuffing, multiple voting, intentional invalidation of votes for the opposition, and altering of polling station results with the fraudulent addition of extra votes.
EU observers also noted unlikely turnout figures, major results deviations between polling stations in the same polling centre, and many cases of poll workers, civil servants, and electors found with ballot papers outside polling stations. Irregularities were observed in all provinces.
EU observers reported that closing procedures were applied unevenly, with about one third of observed polling stations not undertaking the requisite reconciliation of ballots before commencing counting. During counting and the filling in of results protocols basic mathematical crosschecks were not performed, and the majority of poll workers observed had difficulties completing the paperwork. In 8 out of 69 polling stations, a number of votes were invalidated even though the intention of the voter was clear.
EU observers followed district tabulation of results in 51 districts of the country. The reception of materials at district level was observed to be disorganised in many locations and there were instances of protocols being filled out by polling staff while they were queuing to deliver results. Established procedures were followed only about half the time, and district tabulation staff often directly copied polling station results into district tabulation forms, without first reviewing the accuracy of figures. As such, EU observers reported a significant number of data inconsistencies, including the sum of votes exceeding the number of ballots in the box or the number of voters.
The EU EOM received credible information and observed cases of intimidation of party delegates. EU observers were made aware of hundreds of cases countrywide of polling station presidents expelling opposition party agents and party-appointed poll workers, often with the assistance of police. Many opposition members, whether party agents, party-appointed poll workers or party-appointed election officials, who raised complaints during the process were considered by the authorities to be disturbing the electoral process and police were called to either arrest or expel them. When police were involved in expelling party agents, it was sometimes violent.
Several party agents have remained in police detention since election day. The case of detainees in Gaza is particularly alarming given the evidence submitted to the mission certifying the party agents have been detained without access to defence of their choice or respect for due process.
The EU EOM considers that the electoral administration is to take responsibility for clarifying the irregularities. The EU EOM is aware that this places an extra burden on the Constitutional Council which has the opportunity of addressing some of these irregularities during the validation of results.
The EU EOM will publish the final report with a comprehensive assessment of the electoral process and recommendations after the validation and official declaration of election results.
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