As the Mozambican electoral body continues counting the ballots after the general polls, some of the international observers who arrived in the country from around the globe have started to express their opinions over the whole voting process, its bright and dark moments.
The biggest political event, the country has seen since 2014, appears to be one of the most monitored in the region with the official number of more than 40, 000 foreign and local observers from various non-governmental organisations. All of them attempted to oversee the process on the basis of national legislation and international election standards.
The African and European Union, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as the states neighbouring to Mozambique, including Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, sent their missions to ensure the election credibility, transparency, and inclusivity. Among the specialists were also the members of the Association for Free Research and International Cooperation (AFRIC) who gathered from 15 different countries of not only in Africa but also in Asia and Europe.
On the historic day, the AFRIC observing group stated the elections were generally peaceful, but the poor infrastructure in some of the areas had negatively impacted the process resulting in some minor issues at a certain number of the stations.
“This day has been good, fortunately, there was no violence or any incidents at the stations in and around Beira central,” reads the official report released on the association’s website.
“The voter turnout was moderate as there are many unused ballots as we start counting now. The queues were filled with youth in the mornings and elders in the afternoon. The CNE staff were also very welcoming for us as observers and, where we could speak, we got some information we needed.”
The international organisation has also been one of the first among such regulators to gather a press-conference to share the preliminary results of its work and provide a progress report on the elections. Here are some of the main points, voiced during the Facebook stream of the meeting:
- The long queues that occurred at the numerous polling stations were considered to be the largest and most frequent problem. The average time needed to vote was around 3-4 hours which significantly raised tensions among the citizens and resulted in conflicts;
- The observers reported cases when certain people could not find their names in the voter rolls at the stations they had been registered;
- Some extra ballot papers were also found during the sorting and counting process with the electoral commission members not knowing what exactly they should do in such an instance;
- The police officers managed to secure peace in the vast majority of regions, quickly resolving the quarrels between the supporters of different parties;
- There is a strong need for modernising the equipment used across the country in order to increase the role of automated digital mechanisms and ease the election process.
“Despite tensions and conflict episodes, the national authorities were able to provide the necessary security for the voting process and its participants — citizens, commission members, political party delegates, and observers,” the AFRIC representatives said in the statement.
In total, the AFRIC successfully accredited 62 observers who had been able to visit more than 200 PSCs throughout the country across all the 10 provinces and the capital city of Maputo.