Incumbent in early lead as Mozambique picks leader

Sunday October 20 2019

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi gestures as he delivers a speech during his party's last Mozambican General Election campaign rally on October 12, 2019 in Matola, Mozambique. PHOTO | GIANLUIGI GUERCIA | AFP 

ARNALDO VIEIRA
By ARNALDO VIEIRA
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Preliminary results showed the incumbent Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique leading in the presidential vote with 72 per cent after elections on Tuesday.

According to Sala da Paz, a forum of civil society organisations, collation by its observers showed Remano leader Ossufo Momade was second with 21 per cent of the votes while MDM Daviz Simango’s was third with 5.8 per cent.

“The preliminary results do not show Amui’s candidate Mário Albino,” the electoral observation platform said.

Meanwhile, the European Union observation mission head Sanchez Amor said the election was fair.

“I would like to underline the fact that vote was carried out in a peacefully way,” Mr Amor said in a statement.

Preliminary results were expected to be announced later Thursday by the country’s National Electoral Commission and final results at the end of the month.

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The Tuesday vote was the sixth presidential and parliamentary elections since 1994. Four presidential candidates and 26 parties took part — the first without the longtime opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama, who died last year.

President Nyusi's Frelimo Party has been in power since the country gained Independence in 1975, but its popularity has recently taken a hit due to a financial crisis linked to state corruption.

Frelimo was predicted to again beat its arch-rival Renamo, a former rebel group turned main opposition party.

President Nyusi, 60, was forecast to win a second five-year term despite his popularity taking a hit from chronic unrest and a financial crisis. Frelimo has ruled Mozambique since independence from Portugal in 1975.

Around 13 million of Mozambique's 30 million citizens were registered to vote at more than 20,000 polling stations.

On Monday, Mozambique’s Electoral Commission announced that 10 voting stations in Cabo Delgado’s province Macomia, Mocimboa da Praia, and Muidumbe districts would not open for the country’s general election on October 15. This left 5,400 voters unable to cast their ballot.

Cabo Delgado Province, about 1,600km north of Maputo, is rich in minerals such as gold, grenadines, aquamarines, tourmalines, blue topaz and green tourmalines, and attracts many foreigners.

The province borders Tanzania and has a population of nearly two million, many believed to be Renamo-leaning.

The province has been plagued by insecurity since October 2017, when a group known locally as Al-Sunna wa Jama’a or Al-Shabaab attacked a police station in Mocimboa da Praia.

Since then, armed groups have carried out over 200 attacks on villages, and have clashed with security forces several times.

The United Nations estimates that approximately 60,000 people have been affected or displaced by the insecurity.

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