Nyusi retains power in Mozambique

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Mozambique incumbent President Filipe Nyusi won a landslide victory in an election it was hoped would calm tensions in a nation soon to become a top global gas exporter, but stoked divisions as opposition parties cry foul.

Nyusi secured 73% of the vote in the presidential race, the National Election Commission (CNE) said on Sunday, while his party, the ruling Frelimo, won big in legislative and provincial contests.

Ossufo Momade, candidate for former guerrilla movement turned main opposition party Renamo, which rejected the outcome, trailed with 21.88% of the vote, the CNE said.

During his second five-year term, Nyusi will be responsible for overseeing a gas boom led by oil giants including Exxon Mobil Corp and Total), battling a festering Islamist insurgency and delivering on a peace deal signed two months ago.

Speaking to supporters in Maputo, Nyusi said he would further develop Mozambique and speed up implementation of the deal.

“I will work so we can have a prosperous, equitable and fair Mozambique,” he told the crowd. “In these elections, the Mozambican people won.”

It was hoped the October 15 poll would seal the fragile peace pact, designed to end four decades of violence between Frelimo and Renamo. The two fought a 16-year civil war that ended in a truce in 1992 but clashed sporadically since.

Instead the deal is at risk of falling apart as opposition parties reject election results, claiming they were tarnished by fraud, violence and irregularities from the outset. Frelimo says the elections were free and fair.

Analysts say a return to all-out conflict is highly unlikely even if the deal collapses, but low-level violence, including from an armed group of breakaway former Renamo fighters, could worsen. That could suck government focus and resources from the insurgency in the gas-rich north.

“SHAMEFUL”

Eight members of the CNE, made up of Frelimo and opposition party representatives, voted against the results, versus nine in favour.

Fernando Mazanga, a Renamo member of the CNE, said they distanced themselves from the results because of irregularities.

“It is shameful and a disgrace what we are witnessing here,” he said.

Daviz Simango, of the third largest party the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), secured just over four percent of the presidential vote.

He said MDM saw the election outcome as “null and void”. Observer groups, including from the European Union, United States and Commonwealth, raised concerns about the process from registration through to vote counting.

Frelimo gained 40 seats in the 250-seat parliament, taking a total of 184 compared with 60 for Renamo – down by almost a third – and 6 for MDM.

Frelimo won a majority in all 10 Mozambique provinces in the provincial poll – a contest central to the survival of the peace pact.

For the first time, provincial governors will be appointed by the majority party in each province rather than government – a key Renamo demand during peace talks.

The party wanted to win control of some provinces to achieve a long-thwarted ambition for influence, but came away empty handed.

Turnout was slightly higher than in the general election in 2014, with just over 50% of the more than 13 million registered voters voting.