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18 Oct, 2023 15:17

Unrest in Mozambique over alleged election fraud

Violence reported across the Southern African nation between police and opposition protesters following local elections
Unrest in Mozambique over alleged election fraud

Clashes between riot police and opposition protesters in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, have reportedly left dozens injured. The main opposition party, Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), called for the demonstrations on Tuesday in response to alleged fraud in municipal elections held last week.

Several of the protesters sustained minor injuries while attempting to flee from police, who fired tear gas into the crowd, according to the BBC.

We once again call on all Mozambicans to take part in a general demonstration to repudiate electoral fraud... This is the beginning of the revolution in Mozambique,” Ossufo Momade, Renamo president, told a crowd in Maputo on Tuesday. Protests were reported in Chiure and Montepuez in the country’s northeast, and in Nampula in the north.

The ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) was announced on Saturday as the winner of the local elections in most municipalities, including the capital, where the candidate of Renamo Venancio Mondlane had already claimed victory.

According to the Maputo Provincial Electoral Commission, Frelimo’s Rasaque Manhique obtained 58.78% of the total votes, while Renamo’s Mondlane had 33.59%, while the Democratic Movement of Mozambique received 6.8%.

However, Mondlane declared himself winner on Thursday, a day after the elections, with 53% of votes cast, bringing thousands of supporters to the streets in the capital, the Club of Mozambique news agency reported.

A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed by police on Thursday in the district of Chiure in Cabo Delgado province and a girl was injured during opposition supporters’ celebrations following the local elections. The police said in a statement that the boy was “accidentally fatally shot” while they were dispersing protesters.

Human Rights Watch has also accused the Mozambican police of using “excessive force” against opposition supporters in Nampula province. Violent clashes between police and opposition supporters have also been reported in the municipalities of Cuamba, Moatize, and Vilankulos, the organization reported on Thursday.

Frelimo and Renamo fought a brutal civil war from 1977 to 1992, devastating the southern African nation’s economy and leaving almost one million people dead. Since the conclusion of the war, Frelimo has consistently won all national elections and maintained control over the majority of municipalities in the former Portuguese colony, which gained independence in 1975.