Mozambique’s former guerrilla movement Renamo urged citizens to join it rejecting preliminary results of last week’s general election, citing fraud as incumbent President Filipe Nyusi took the lead.
With around 37% of votes counted from roughly 13 million registered voters, Nyusi of the ruling Frelimo party secured 74.6%, while opposition Renamo candidate Osuffo Momade had 20.2%.
The election is seen as make or break for the peace pact agreed by Renamo and Frelimo earlier this year, putting a formal end to decades of hostility between two groups.
Renamo, after a meeting of its top officials on Monday said it decided to challenge the results over allegations of registration irregularities, phantom voters and intimidation of activists and candidates by security forces.
“The facts reported constitute predicted and punishable electoral offences under law, as well as a denial of the most elementary principles of democracy and human rights,” said Renamo president Momade.
“We urge all Mozambicans not to accept this mega electoral fraud.”
The Frelimo party and the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE) did not respond to phone calls and text messages from Reuters requesting comment.
Activists and observers questioned the fairness of last Tuesday’s vote while observer missions from the European Union and United States raised concerns.
The campaign was marked by violence, including the murder of an election observer. The Centre for Public Integrity in Mozambique said the head of Renamo’s Women’s League and her husband were murdered in Tete province.
Victory for Renamo in some provinces is seen as central to survival of the peace pact. Early data suggests Renamo has lost some of them.
According to electoral commission data, Frelimo clinched nearly 80% of the vote compared to Renamo’s 17% in Tete province. In nearby Sofala, site of Renamo’s headquarters, the opposition had 20% versus Frelimo’s nearly 66% of votes.