Violence broke out in Mozambique’s capital Maputo on Saturday between security forces and demonstrators protesting the results of the local elections. Confrontations were also reported in the cities of Nampula and Nacala. Security forces are said to have been using disproportionate force, including tear gas and live bullets, to disperse the protesters. At least three people have been reported dead, including a 10-year old boy. There have also been reports of injuries and detentions.
The demonstrations were organized by the opposition party, Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), following the result of municipal elections held on October 11. The National Elections Commission announced that the ruling party, Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO), won in 64 of the 65 constituencies in Mozambique. The remaining local authority was won by the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). RENAMO and other oppositions parties denounced the election results, claiming there was fraud.
The results were officially validated on Thursday by the Constitutional Council, the highest judicial electoral authority. This was despite the invalidation of results in at least two constituencies by district courts, namely Cuamba and Chokwe. The district court in Matola called for a recount in that city, following a complaint by MDM.
The US Embassy in Mozambique acknowledged that reports of irregularities during voting and vote counting are credible. The Spokesperson for the European Union, in a statement, called on “all parts involved to act in a peaceful manner and on the authorities to ensure the safe exercise of freedom of speech and association.”