Tensions Rise as Mozambique’s Opposition Party’s Headquarters Gets Vandalised
Vandalism at the Mozambique Democratic Movement Headquarters
The Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) headquarters in Xai-Xai fell victim to an act of vandalism. This incident occurred on the night between 23rd and 24th September, leaving the office in a state of disarray. The vandals broke open the bars of one of the windows and made away with all posters, election materials, and office equipment. This act of thievery appears to be politically motivated, as evidenced by the specific targeting of election campaign material. Had it been a simple robbery, only the office equipment would have been stolen. The incident has sparked concerns about the integrity of the upcoming elections.
National Elections Commission’s Call for Ethical Conduct
On 25th September, the chair of the National Elections Commission (CNE), Bishop Carlos Matsinhe, issued an exhortation to all political parties, coalitions, and independent groups of citizens. He urged them to refrain from using intoxicated youths or those who have consumed hallucinogenic drugs as their instruments. He also called for the cessation of the use of children in election campaign rallies and parades. The Bishop emphasized the importance of considering the general principles and duties concerning the campaign and election propaganda expressed in the electoral law, as well as in the Code of Conduct and Ethics for Political Parties, Coalitions and Independent Groups of Citizens.
‘More Integrity’ Consortium Begins Election Observation
The ‘More Integrity’ electoral consortium, established in 2022, has begun its observation of the election campaign for the Sixth Municipal Elections. Home to 1,479 observers stationed in 36 municipalities and 200 correspondents in all 65 of the country’s municipalities, the consortium aims to contribute to the transparency and integrity of the 2023-2024 electoral cycle. They will observe the campaign, which will run until 8th October, as well as the voting and counting procedures until the declaration of the results by the Constitutional Council. The consortium will also assess the content and strategies adopted by the political parties, coalitions, groups of citizens and their respective mayoral candidates in publicising their election manifestos.
Preparation and Training for Election Observers
In preparation for this crucial phase, the More Integrity Electoral Consortium provided further training for its provincial coordinators and municipal supervisors. These coordinators and supervisors, in turn, replicated these training sessions for the observers in each of the municipalities. Particular attention will be paid to the accessibility of campaign sites to people with disabilities, the participation of women and young people, access to information, and the exercise of the freedoms of expression and of the press. The observers have been duly trained to perform these tasks, ensuring that they can accurately assess the unfolding of the electoral process.
The Role of Election Observers
Election observers, also known as poll watchers, play an important role before, during and after Election Day. They observe, ask questions about, and report on the processes they witness. They must follow federal, state, and local rules regarding observation and applicable laws regarding the prohibition of electioneering. Observers include members of the public, media, students and academics, state observers and other election administrators, international delegations, political parties, advocacy groups, campaigns and candidates.
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