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Ruling party ahead in partial Mozambique election results3 min read

The lopsided nature of partial results published could revive fears over the country’s fragile peace deal

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Partial results for Mozambique’s high-stakes general election were released on Friday, showing President Filipe Nyusi and his ruling Frelimo party headed for a dominant victory.

The National Electoral Commission (CNE) published the incomplete results as the US embassy in the country said its observers witnessed voting irregularities that it said “strains credulity”.

Frelimo, which has ruled the southern African nation for 44 years, had been widely expected to win the presidential, parliamentary and provincial polls held on Tuesday.

But the lopsided nature of partial results published by the National Electoral Commission (CNE) on Friday could revive fears over the country’s fragile peace deal.

According to the CNE’s running website tally, Nyusi won 75 per cent of the 830,000 votes counted so far — just six per cent of the country’s 13 million registered voters — in the presidential election.

The candidate of former rebel group turned main opposition party Renamo, Ossufo Momade, had garnered 20 per cent.

In the last presidential election in 2014, Nyusi won 57 per cent over 37 per cent for Afonso Dhlakama, Momade’s predecessor.

For the parliamentary election, Frelimo was leading with 70 per cent to Renamo’s 22 per cent out of 750,000 votes counted.

Such a crushing win would be a surprise after Frelimo suffered its worst-ever performance at the ballot box last year, winning 51.8 per cent of votes in local elections.

Before the partial results were released, the third biggest party Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) slammed the “shameful electoral process”.

“We confirm that there has been fraud,” the MDM said in a statement on Friday. “These elections were not fair, free or transparent.”

‘Strains credulity’

Also on Friday, the US embassy in the capital Maputo said its observers witnessed numerous irregularities during the election and early vote counting. 

It gave the example of the southern Gaza province, where local observer groups had reported the presence of 300,000 “ghost voters” — names not aligned with real voters — on the electoral roll.

In a campaign marred by violence, perhaps the lowest point came in Gaza, where a prominent election observer was brutally murdered by members of a special police unit.

The US embassy said its teams noted low turnout at numerous Gaza polling station until mid-afternoon, but results posted on Wednesday claimed turnout was close to 100 per cent.

Such results “would have required, in the final hours of the day, a rate of voter processing of such extraordinary alacrity that it strains credulity,” the embassy said in a statement.

While the embassy agreed with other international observers that voting had been relatively well-conducted, it noted a “lack of rigour” during the vote-counting process.

Frelimo and Renamo signed a peace deal in August hoping to move past a long history of conflict, including a 1975-1992 civil war in which nearly a million people were killed.

As part of the agreement, Frelimo agreed to allow the country’s 10 provinces elect governors for the first time.

Renamo had been tipped to win control of between three to five of the provinces, but the one-sided nature of Friday’s partial results could cast doubt on that prediction.

The CNE is expected to announce the result of the provincial elections on Monday.

The final results of all the polls must be published within 15 days of the vote.

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Supporters of Sudan’s Bashir oppose handover to ICC

Supporters of ousted Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir held a protest Saturday vowing to oppose any move by the country’s new authorities to hand him over to the International Criminal Court

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Supporters of ousted Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir held a protest Saturday vowing to oppose any move by the country’s new authorities to hand him over to the International Criminal Court.

Dozens of his supporters, carrying Bashir’s portrait, gathered outside the Khartoum court where he is being tried on charges of illegally acquiring and using foreign funds.

“We are with you. We will never betray you. No, no to ICC,” chanted the crowd as the former president was brought to the courthouse for a hearing.

The demonstration comes amid growing calls from human rights groups, activists and victims of Sudan’s Darfur war for the surrender of Bashir to The Hague-based court.

“President Bashir represents the whole of Sudan. We have an independent judiciary and if any trials are to be held, they must be held here,” said protester Mohamed Ali Daklai.

“We reject any outside or foreign tribunal. ICC is anyway a political court used by Western countries to pressure the weak.”

Bashir was ousted by the army on April 11 following nationwide protests against his iron-fisted rule of three decades.

The military generals who initially seized power after the president’s fall refused to hand Bashir over to the ICC.

He is wanted by the ICC for his alleged role in the Darfur war that erupted in 2003 as ethnic African rebels took up arms against Bashir’s then Arab-dominated government, accusing it of marginalizing the region economically and politically.

Khartoum applied what rights groups say was a scorched earth policy against ethnic groups suspected of supporting the rebels — raping, killing, looting and burning villages.

The ICC has accused Bashir of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the vast western region of Darfur. He denies the charges.

About 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million displaced in the conflict, according to the United Nations.

Bashir, who ruled Sudan for three decades after seizing power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, is being held in a Khartoum prison and facing trial on corruption charges.

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Central Africa News

Rebels in DR Congo kill 14 civilians in revenge for army offensives

Assailants in DR Congo have killed 14 civilians in revenge for army offensives against Ugandan rebel strongholds in the east of the country,

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Assailants in DR Congo have killed 14 civilians in revenge for army offensives against Ugandan rebel strongholds in the east of the country, a local official said on Saturday.

The latest killings, which occurred in the night from Friday to Saturday, take the total number of those killed in revenge attacks in the past two weeks to more than 30.

The attacks took place in two locations in the Beni region of the North Kivu province where the Congolese army last month announced an offensive to root out insurgents belonging to the Islamist-inspired rebel group the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) — a militia of Ugandan origin that has long operated in the border region.

Beni administrator Donat Kibwana said the attackers used machetes and knives and were believed to have gone on to loot shops and homes.

The army said on October 30 it had launched “large-scale operations”, including shelling and troop deployments, aimed at ridding the area of armed groups. 

But the civilian death toll in ADF attacks has been rising, and residents have accused the army of focusing their efforts on the wrong areas. 

“It’s a complicated situation because the population is the target of ADF revenge attacks against army operations,” said Teddy Kataliko, president of the Beni Civil Society.

The ADF, which has been present in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1995, is accused of having killed hundreds or even thousands of civilians in the Beni region in the past five years.

The Islamic State jihadist group has claimed some of the ADF’s recent attacks but there is no clear evidence of any affiliation between them. 

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Politics

Mozambique’s Renamo lose bid to annul election

The Constitutional Court rejected the application on grounds Renamo “did not submit enough evidence to sustain it’s complaint”.

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Mozambique’s largest opposition party Renamo has lost its bid to annul last month’s election results after the country’s top court threw out its challenge, according to a court judgement seen Friday.

Renamo, the rebel group turned opposition party, lodged an application after it lost the October 15 election to the long-ruling Frelimo party.

It accused the government of “massive electoral fraud” and of using violence and intimidation on voting day in a breach of a peace deal between the two parties who once fought a civil war.

But the Constitutional Court, in a judgement dated November 11 but seen on its website on Friday, rejected the application on grounds that the party “did not submit enough evidence to sustain its complaint”.

Last week the European Union cast doubt on the credibility of the ruling party’s victory, saying its observers detected a litany of “irregularities and malpractices” and called on authorities to clarify them.

Mozambican civil society and international observers had already flagged numerous alleged attempts to stuff ballot boxes and chase away election monitors, as well as hundreds of thousands of so-called “ghost voters” on the electoral roll.

Incumbent President Filipe Nyusi won a new five-year term after his Frelimo party secured 73 per cent of the votes cast.

The election posed a major challenge to the country’s already fragile peace agreement between Frelimo and Renamo who fought a civil war from 1975-1992 that left one million dead.

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