The counting of votes is underway in Mozambique following Tuesday, 15 October 2019’s general elections, which were otherwise marked by a low voter turnout, some reports suggest.
Mozambicans have been turning out to elect a president, members of parliament and provincial governors amid alleged irregularities in the conduct of the poll.
In some polling stations in the northern cities of Nampula and Nacala, queues of voters continued right up until 18:00 when the stations were due to close.
The electoral law states that anyone in the queue at 18:00 is allowed to vote, and tickets should be distributed to people still at the polling stations at closing time.
Electoral minders estimate that the turnout was less than 50 percent of Mozambique’s 12.9 million registered voters.
Partial results will be released as counting progresses while official results are due on 12 November 2019, pending validation by the country’s Constitutional Council.
President Filipe Nyusi of the ruling Frelimo party voted at a school in Maputo, while his main Renamo rival, Ossufo Momade, cast his ballot in his hometown on the Island of Mozambique in Nampula province.
Most analysts believe the 60-year-old president will cruise to a second five-year term, despite his popularity taking a hit from a financial crisis linked to alleged state corruption.
Momade, however, vowed that he “will never” accept “rigged election results”.
“If these are manipulated results, we can never accept (them) and we are determined to do anything whatsoever that the people indicate,” Momade told journalists after casting his vote.
He alleged that the ruling Frelimo was trying to manipulate the vote by stuffing ballots and showed the journalists two ballot papers that he claimed were confiscated from a member of the governing party.
The elections are seen as a litmus test for a fragile peace deal signed by the two leaders in August, which ended years of armed clashes between Renamo militants and government troops.
Insecurity also poses a growing threat, with at least ten polling stations not able to open in northernmost Cabo Delgado province as Mozambique’s election authority said it could not guarantee safety from attacks by extremists who have killed more than 400 people in the past two years.