Incumbent President Filipe Nyusi was declared the landslide winner in Mozambique’s election this month, despite claims of widespread cheating, the electoral commission announced on Sunday.
Nyusi of the ruling Frelimo party won 73% of the vote, ahead of Ossufo Momade of Renamo, the rebel group turned opposition party, with almost 22%, commission chairperson Abdul Carimo told a press briefing.
Nyusi had been widely predicted to win, based on unofficial results from the October 15 vote, and Frelimo had already organised victory celebrations in the capital on Sunday.
“For this election, Frelimo worked hard and our candidate Filipe Nyusi worked hard to achieve these results,” Frelimo member Veronica Macamo told AFP.
“All Mozambicans like him as a president,” she added.
But last week, Renamo urged the Mozambique people to reject the “massive electoral fraud” it claims took place during the polls.
It called for fresh elections, accusing the government of breaching a peace deal by using violence and intimidation on voting day.
Mozambican civil society and international observers have flagged numerous alleged attempts to stuff ballot boxes and chase away election monitors, as well as hundreds of thousands of so-called “ghost voters” on the electoral roll.
The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) said it was regrettable that irregularities in voter registration had not been addressed before the vote.
A violent election
The election campaign was one of the most violent in the country’s history, with at least 10 people killed in the run-up to the polls, according to a local observer mission.
Among the killings was the murder of a prominent election observer – suspected to have been carried out by a special police unit – and that of the Renamo Women’s League leader, whose bullet-ridden body was found with her husband’s in the western province of Tete.
Frelimo, which has ruled Mozambique since independence from Portugal in 1975, has hailed the elections as free and fair.
Observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) also approved of the election, saying the run-up to the vote and the balloting itself had been “generally peaceful and conducted in an orderly manner”.
Despite numerous opposition party complaints, SADC observers have endorsed elections in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Botswana in recent months, declaring them all to be free and fair.
Frelimo and Renamo, which fought a brutal civil war from 1975-92 that claimed nearly a million lives, signed a peace deal in August hoping to turn the page on decades of conflict.
The tense elections were a test of the fragile peace after the heated campaign.