Mozambique opposition Renamo rejects election results

Mozambique’s main opposition party Renamo on Thursday claimed victory in the country’s election, rejecting official tallies that showed the ruling Frelimo party on path for a landslide victory.

“We are not accepting the results of these elections,” party spokesman Antonio Muchanga said, in a move that raises the spectre of post-election violence.

“We can categorically say Renamo won these elections,” Muchanga told AFP.

With nearly a quarter of the polling stations reporting, Frelimo’s candidate, former defence minister Filipe Nyusi, looked set to become the country’s new president, having garnered 63% of the vote.

Incumbent President Armando Guebuza, also from Frelimo, is prohibited by the constitution from running for a third term.

Initial tallies showed Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama struggling to win 30% of the vote.

But amid allegations of ballot tampering and election violence Renamo — which fought a long civil war against the formerly Marxist Frelimo — said the vote should be annulled.

“It’s about transparency,” said Muchanga.

Renamo, which has lost all elections since the end of the country’s 16-year civil war in 1992, has made something of a comeback, trying to spruce up its image after emerging from a low-level insurgency waged in the centre of the country just weeks ahead of the election.

There will now be concerns that that insurgency could be rekindled.

Chatham House researcher Alex Vines said he believed this election is the “most important” in Mozambique since the first post-war vote in 1994.

“Investors are watching Mozambique closely and want stability and predictability,” said Vines, as the country stands on the cusp of becoming a gas producer.

Over 10 million voters were registered for the presidential race, plus polls for national and provincial assemblies.

Organisers say the polls have been fair.  “There have been some incidents here and there but in general the situation is under control,” Paulo Cuinica, spokesman for the national Electoral Commission told AFP, adding that voting went “smoothly.”

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