Refugees flee Mozambique fearing post-election violence; Fraud gives Nyusi 282,000 more votes, analysis finds

Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 21 October, 2019

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Frelimo continues to run away with the election results, with Nyusi potentially on course to beat Guebuza’s record showing in 2009 of 75% of the vote. The ruling party also looks set to keep hold of all of the provincial governorships. Renamo’s top brass is meeting in Maputo today to consider their next move.

Savana wrote on Friday that the results will strengthen Nyusi’s position, whose handle on the ruling party was questioned throughout his first term. That might in turn allow him to come down harder on those in the previous administration who were involved in the ‘hidden debts’.

Frelimo also looks likely to win a two-thirds majority in parliament, which would mean it could vote through changes to the constitution without the support of the opposition.


Agenda:

  • Today: Renamo Political Commission meets in Maputo

  • Today-Friday: National Atomic Energy Agency discusses revisions to integrated nuclear security support plan in Maputo

  • 23-24 October: Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russian Federation, with Mozambican government delegation due to attend


The latest from Zitamar News:

Weekend results confirm Frelimo dominance in Mozambique election
Provincial election results released over the weekend continue to give Frelimo the upper hand, nationwide and in every province that has reported so far


From the Zitamar Mozambique Live Blog

Fastjet stops services in Mozambique
Airline Fastjet has announced it will suspend operations in Mozambique, from midnight on Saturday 26 October, until "demand for air travel in the country increases sufficiently compared to capacity supplied."

Renamo political meeting begins in Maputo
The Political Commission, plus the party's provincial delegates and its election committee, will discuss how voting and counting went, according to a party source. 


The best of the rest:

  • Refugees flee Mozambique fearing post-election violence (Nyasa Times, O Público)

  • Fraud gives Nyusi 282,000 more votes, analysis finds (Mozambique Political Process Bulletin)

  • Police leave cancelled until government sworn in (Carta de Moçambique)

  • Fura Gems closes ruby mining licence acquisition (Macauhub via Noticias)

Refugees flee Mozambique fearing post-election violence (Nyasa Times, O Público)
Police fired shots in the air to disperse a crowd of people and caused them to flee over the border into Zambia, O Público reports, citing two conflicting sources. One says that the people, in the village of Zumbo in the western province of Tete, had gathered to mourn the murder of local Renamo women's league leader Babula Francisco and her husband, and the other says that the crowd was Renamo members gathering for a meeting. O Público notes that President Filipe Nyusi received 88.5% of the vote in the local municipality, which it says was the highest percentage in the country and “abnormally high… in a province where until these elections the electorate was very divided”. Meanwhile, over 300 people have sought refuge in Chikwawa in southern Malawi fearing violence, and there are plans to transfer them to an existing refugee camp.
The unfortunate residents of these parts of Tete province are used to crossing the borders to Malawi and Zambia, as political tensions flare up. It’s almost exactly a year since the last remaining Mozambicans returned home from the Luwani camp in Malawi where they had sought refuge from government-Renamo violence in 2015-16. It may now have to reopen.

Fraud gives Nyusi 282,000 more votes, analysis finds (Mozambique Political Process Bulletin)
Analysis by the CIP-published Mozambique Political Process Bulletin estimates that there were at least 282,000 fake votes cast for Filipe Nyusi in last week’s elections. 120,000 of that total is the difference between the number of ballot papers in presidential election ballot boxes, and those in the ballot boxes for the parliamentary election, suggesting that they were extras put in by polling station staff. Another 45,000 come from 19 districts which have votes over 75% — way above the 52% average turnout nationwide. “The eight districts with the highest turnout are the same ones which have shown ballot box stuffing in past elections, 6 in Gaza and 2 in Tete — including Zumbo where a Renamo official organising the monitoring effort was killed the day before the election,” the Bulletin writes. “Finally, an estimated 118,000 ‘ghosts’ voted in the Gaza districts of Bilene, Chibuto, Chokwe, and Manjacaze.” The Bulletin also estimates that 25,000 votes for the opposition were illegally invalidated.
This statistical analysis is worth taking seriously, as the best guess of how much fraud went on. And, as the Bulletin points out, it doesn’t take into account the unlevel playing field on which the election was played, or for the intimidation and pressure some voters felt to cast their vote in favour of the ruling party. However, such figures are not enough to dispute Nyusi and Frelimo victory as well showing a pattern of fraud and poll boxes stuffing countrywide. The opposition is expected to produce a considerable work showing clear evidence of fraud something they were very weak in previous elections.

Police leave cancelled until government sworn in (Carta de Moçambique)
The Ministry of the Interior has banned the approximately 3,000 officers of the National Criminal Investigation Service, Sernic, from taking holidays until the new government takes office, following the 15 October elections, a move Carta labelled as ‘activating a police state’. Officers who were already on holiday should immediately return to work, according to a 14 October order signed by Sernic director general Domingos Jofane.
The post-election climate has so far been quiet, but the police are clearly preparing to maintain order in case there are protests at the results. In Maputo, the capital city, police vehicles have been positioned in key areas around the city since elections.

Fura Gems closes ruby mining licence acquisition (Macauhub via Noticias)
Canadian mining firm Fura Gems has closed the acquisition of a ruby prospecting licence in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, the company announced on Thursday. Fura acquired from the seller, Azores Overseas Inc, a 100% stake in Mozambican Ruby Lda, the holder of prospecting licence 5572L, for which it paid $381,000 cash and 13.6m in Fura shares. Fura also paid off liabilities of the acquired company amounting to $993,900. Fura added that it had already completed the first phase of production drilling and had begun commissioning the washing plant, which it expected to complete by the end of the year. Fura announced last year it had the largest licenced area of any ruby miner in Mozambique, with 1104km2.
Read Zitamar’s 2018 article on the beneficial owners of this mining licence and their links to the multi-billion dollar Riversdale / Rio Tinto deal.


Company Announcements

  • Fastjet said that it would suspend flight operations in Mozambique with effect from Saturday 26 October, including flights under its code-sharing arrangement with LAM, owing to continuing losses and oversupply of seats by other carriers. Fastjet could be the first victim to the “open air” policy in Mozambique which brought to the domestic market the African giant Ethiopian Airlines.

  • Ncondezi Energy said that China Machinery Engineering Corporation, the main prospective engineering, procurement and construction contractor and operations and maintenance contractor for the firm’s coal-fired power project in Tete province, had completed a site visit as part of the due diligence for the contracts, which Nocndezi hopes to finalise in the fourth quarter of this year

  • Kibo Energy, which owns a coal project in Tete,said it had successfully placed £1.5m ($1.9m) of shares to provide financing for developing its energy portfolio and working capital, and had also issued £490,000 of shares to pay off creditors

  • Woodbois, which has a timber operation in Mozambique, said it had bought 75,000 preference shares in its Mozambique subsidiary Argento Ltd and that it would convert them into 4% bonds maturing in 2024 within 48 hours

  • Gemfields said that it had completed a share buy-back programme involving the purchase of 143.2m shares at an average price of 1.50 rand ($0.10) per share, and that it continued to see an opportunity to buy back more shares


Tweet of the Day

Frelimo election propaganda being removed from the side of a road in Maputo