Over ten days after the municipal elections held on October 11, 2023, confusion still reigns in the country as the initial, highly contested, partial results show the ruling party, in power since independence, as the overwhelming victor.
The situation in Mozambique remains unclear as the nation awaits the final results of the municipal elections conducted on October 11, 2023.
The preliminary partial results indicate that the Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (Frelimo), the ruling party since independence in 1975, has secured a sweeping victory, winning 64 out of 65 municipalities. However, this performance is being challenged by the Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (Renamo) and the Movimento Democrático de Moçambique (MDM), the main opposition parties, as well as civil society observers. Some district courts have called for a recount of the votes, and Mozambican streets have come alive with protests.
Never before since independence has the outcome of a local election been this muddled. In Maputo, the capital, Nampula in the north, and Quelimane in the center, thousands of Renamo supporters took to the streets on October 22, 2023. The day before, the streets of Maputo were painted red, the color of Frelimo, during a “victory march.”
Several district courts, such as Matola in the outskirts of Maputo, have requested a recount of the votes, a decision disputed by the local electoral commission, which has taken the matter to the Constitutional Court.
Multiple civil society coalitions, including Sala de Paz, Mais Integridade, and the Mozambican Human Rights Commission, have reported irregularities during the election. They contest the overwhelming victory of Frelimo, which, if true, would leave only the city of Beira to the MDM. Meanwhile, Renamo, which managed seven municipalities before, would have won nothing.
In an open letter published last week, Samora Machel Junior, the son of the father of Mozambican independence and a member of the Frelimo Central Committee, himself denounced a biased election and “unpatriotic actions.”