Unrest in Mozambique over alleged election fraud

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Several people were reportedly injured in clashes between riot police and opposition protestors in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo. The Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), the main opposition party, called for the protests on Tuesday in response to suspected irregularities in municipal elections held last week.

According to the BBC, some protestors were injured while attempting to run from police, who shot tear gas into the gathering.

“We once again call on all Mozambicans to take part in a general demonstration to repudiate electoral fraud… This is the beginning of the revolution in Mozambique,” Renamo president Ossufo Momade told a gathering in Maputo on Tuesday. Protests were recorded in the northeastern cities of Chiure and Montepuez, as well as the northern city of Nampula.

The ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) was declared the winner of local elections in most municipalities on Saturday, including the capital, where Renamo candidate Venancio Mondlane had already claimed victory.

The Maputo Provincial Electoral Commission reported that Frelimo’s Rasaque Manhique won 58.78% of the total votes, Renamo’s Mondlane received 33.59%, and the Democratic Movement of Mozambique received 6.8%.

Mondlane, on the other hand, declared himself winner on Thursday, a day after the polls, with 53% of the votes cast, drawing thousands of supporters to the streets of Maputo, according to the Club of Mozambique news agency.

A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed by police on Thursday in the district of Chiure in Cabo Delgado province and a girl was injured during opposition supporters’ celebrations following the local elections. The police said in a statement that the boy was “accidentally fatally shot” while they were dispersing protesters.

Human Rights Watch also charged Mozambican police with deploying “excessive force” against opposition supporters in Nampula province. According to the organisation, violent fights between police and opposition supporters have also been recorded in the municipalities of Cuamba, Moatize, and Vilankulos.

From 1977 until 1992, Frelimo and Renamo fought a horrific civil war that devastated the southern African nation’s economy and killed about one million people. Since the war’s end, Frelimo has won all national elections and controlled the majority of municipalities in the former Portuguese colony, which earned independence in 1975.