via Election observers welcome CNE transparency 12 October 2014
International observer missions to Mozambique’s general elections scheduled for Wednesday have welcomed the decision by the National Elections Commission (CNE) to allow accredited observers and journalists to attend all phases of the count and vote tabulation.
The observers from EISA (Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa) and the Carter Centre issued a statement welcoming Friday’s announcement by CNE spokesperson Paulo Cuinica that all stages of the electoral process, up to the final validation of the results, are subject to observation.
Previously there had been concerns that observers and journalists would not be allowed into the count at district level (where the results from all polling stations in the district are added together). But Cuinica declared that everything was open to the observers, and the only limitation was the physical one of space. If the counting room was too small to hold all those who wanted to observe, they would be let in on a “first come, first served” basis.
EISA and the Carter Centre described the CNE’s announcement as “an important commitment to the transparency of the electoral process”, and showed that the CNE was dedicated “to upholding the law of Mozambique and international standards”.
Cuinica’s declaration is in line with a clause in the electoral legislation which states that election observers shall enjoy freedom of movement and have the right “to observe the subsequent electoral operations at all levels, namely the collection of data, the centralization and count of the election results at district, city, provincial and central levels, including the publication, announcement, validation and proclamation of the election results”.
At a Maputo press conference on Friday the Commonwealth observer team urged all participants in the election to adopt a constructive approach in order to guarantee peaceful and credible elections.
The leader of the Commonwealth group, Hubert Ingraham, who is a former Prime Minister of Bahamas, stressed that the success of the elections depends on Mozambicans acting with integrity.
“This responsibility to act with integrity covers everyone, from the National Elections Commission, the political parties and their leaders, to the media, the security agencies, civil society and even the voters themselves”, he said.
Ingraham said that, as from Monday, members of the 15 strong Commonwealth mission will deploy in small groups to various provinces to observe final preparations before polling day.
“During our stay, we shall observe the pre-election period, the day of the voting, and the post-voting period, considering all the factors related with the credibility of the elections”, he said.
Other missions are continuing to arrive. 10 long term observers from the African Union were sent out to various parts of the country on 11 September, to report on the pre-election environment. They are now being joined by 35 short term observers from 24 AU member states.
The AU mission is led by Sophia Akuffo, a judge on the Supreme Court of Ghana, and a former presiding judge of the African court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Members of the team will be stationed in all 11 provincial constituencies, and are expected to return to Maputo the day after the vote. The AU observers are due to issue a preliminary declaration on the elections on the morning of 17 October.