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Mozambique heads to polls amid uncertainty

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Mozambicans are set to elect a new president, parliament and provincial governments on Tuesday in elections that have been overshadowed by intimidation, insurgency and devastating cyclones in the southern African country.

Incumbent President Filipe Nyusi of the Frelimo party, is running against Ossufo Momade from the main opposition Renamo and Daviz Simango of the Mozambique Democratic Movement and Mario Albino of Action of the United Movement for All-round Salvation.

Analysts say that for the first time in its 40-year rule, Frelimo is at risk of losing ground to Renamo, which, due to an electoral law change, will be able to appoint governors in the provinces where it wins the most votes.

Nyusi was behind the rule change. He also signed a final peace agreement with former rebel group Renamo in August.

He has promised to bring lasting peace to the nation that has experienced a 16-year civil war that ended in 1992 and continuing violence between Frelimo and Renamo since its independence from Portugal in 1975.

But analysts doubt that elections will be free and fair and have said that Frelimo will never give up power.

Human rights groups reported abuses against opposition, journalists and observers during the campaign phase.

By Monday afternoon thousands of independent election observers still had not received accreditation to monitor polling sites.

Only 4,000 of the 7,000 observers were given credentials to cover the election, said Domingos do Rosario, the head of an association of observer organiations on Monday.

The polls take place while the nation continues to recover from two cyclones, which left many displaced and without the identity documents required for voting.

Likewise, attacks by terrorists in the northern Cabo Delgado province have led to thousands fleeing. Observers are unsure that elections can be held in this area.

Some 12 million people 91.3 per cent of the electorate   have registered to vote at around 20,000 polling stations. Twenty-six parties are on the ballot papers.(NAN)

HS/SN

Edited by Halima Sheji/Silas Nwoha

 

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