Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Thursday urged the leadership of the National Elections Commission (CNE) to work with objectivity, impartiality, competence and zeal.
He was speaking at a ceremony in Maputo where he swore into office the chairperson and two deputy chairpersons of the CNE. The chairperson is the Anglican bishop of the Lebombos diocese in southern Mozambique, Carlos Matsinhe, and his two deputies were appointed by the largest political parties – Carlos Cauio by the ruling Frelimo Party and Fernando Mazanga by the main opposition force, Renamo.
The CNE is a deeply politicized body. It has 17 members – five appointed by Frelimo, four by Renamo, one by the second largest opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), and seven, including Matsinhe, from civil society bodies.
But there is no mechanism for a genuine civil society choice. Instead, the names proposed by civil society organisations are filtered through the political parties represented in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic – first through a parliamentary ad-hoc committee, which draws up a short list, and then through the Assembly plenary which makes the final choice.
At the ceremony, Nyusi urged Matsinhe, Caiuo and Mazanga to prioritise tolerance, impartiality, serenity, justice and transparency so that the CNE can function properly. He said they needed a great capacity for thoughtfulness and for managing their emotions, but without hindering compliance with the electoral timetable fixed in law.
“Your action will be determinant in providing a healthy and harmonious environment for sharing information and working in a team in developing the activities of the CNE, and in promoting and valuing all political sensitivities, including the contributions of all the stakeholders in the elections”, said Nyusi.
He also urged them to list all the maladjusted provisions of the electoral law in order to influence the law-making bodies (mainly the Assembly) to draw up an electoral code.
For many years now the Constitutional Council, the country’s highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law, has urged that the scattered electoral laws should be consolidated into a single electoral code, eliminating unworkable and contradictory provisions.
Nyusi also stressed the importance of the participation by the international community in Mozambican elections. He thought it indispensable to maintain good relations with international partners. The CNE should “communicate with the cooperation partners and other relevant stakeholders so that they contribute, in a non-intrusive manner, to the smooth functioning of the elections”, he said.
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He urged the CNE leadership to exercise the greatest attention to avoid anything that could stain the elections. The three men, Nyusi said, had the exclusive responsibility to guarantee scrupulous, peaceful and successful compliance with the CNE’s mission.
Bishop Matsinhe replied that he is prepared to meet the challenges ahead. He said his top priority will be to comply strictly with the Mozambican electoral legislation.
“We want to make the work of the CNE credible”, added Matsinhe, “and to produce results that contribute to the growth of democracy in Mozambique”.
This CNE must supervise the complete re-registration of the Mozambican electorate, ahead of the municipal elections scheduled for 2023, and the presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections of 2024.