afrol News, 15 December - Armando Emilio Guebuza of Mozambique's ruling FRELIMO party is heading for a landslide victory in the recent presidential polls, if the results published so far are to be believed. A coalition of twenty opposition parties however says they are a result of massive fraud and demands fresh elections.
The preliminary results from six out of Mozambique's ten provinces have already been published. According to the National Electoral Commission, FRELIMO candidate Guebuza received about 70 percent of the vote in these provinces
These results are mainly from the ruling party's traditional strongholds in the central and southern part of the country. Results are still missing from the northern provinces, where the opposition RENAMO party historically has won elections. RENAMO candidate Afonso Dhlakama however stands no chance of catching up with Mr Guebuza if the preliminary results stand.
The final results of the 1 and 2 December presidential poll are set to be declared on Friday, 17 December, according to the Electoral Commission. Technical problems and heavy rains had delayed the tabulation process, it holds.
The Mozambican opposition however disagrees with this description and alleges massive vote rigging during the controversial tabulation process. RENAMO leader Dhlakama already claimed to have proof of "massive fraud" this weekend and withdrew his party's observers from the tabulation in protest.
Mr Dhlakama further has demanded that President Joachim Chissano stay in power for another six months so that new and free elections could be held in Mozambique. The RENAMO leader was considering calling on the judiciary system to have the polls nullified, while urging for pressure against President Chissano from abroad.
Yesterday, 19 other minor Mozambican opposition parties joined RENAMO's protest. At a meeting in Maputo, the united opposition wrote a letter to be sent to the European Union (EU), World Bank, IMF, Commonwealth, African Union (AU) and Mozambique's attorney general, saying FRELIMO was "plotting against democracy" by committing election fraud.
While the opposition parties claim that armed police officers had prevented opposition supporters from voting, international election observers from the Carter Centre, EU and Commonwealth maintained that the voting process had generally been free and fair. No major incidents were reported.
The foreign observers however repeatedly complained against the Electoral Commission's refusal to let them participate in the final and national vote tabulation. The Commission claimed this would not be allowed by national electoral legislation, while the observers held they could not verify that the people's will had been accounted for if they were not let to observe the entire process.
This year's presidential poll has thus become a repetition of the elections in 1994 and 1999, when FRELIMO leader Chissano was re-elected as President of Mozambique. The RENAMO leader on both occasions claimed to have won, alleging vote rigging in the final tabulation process.
Mr Dhlakama yesterday was asked by the press in Mozambique if his ex-rebels of the RENAMO party were considering taking up their weapons. This, he said, was not an option. But he could not rule out that Mozambicans could "rise up in protest" against having their votes stolen.
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