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Cablegate: Fraud Allegations, Voter Registration, Budget:

VZCZCXRO4442
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #0751 2190807
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060807Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9203
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0212

UNCLAS MAPUTO 000751

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MZ
SUBJECT: FRAUD ALLEGATIONS, VOTER REGISTRATION, BUDGET:
MOZAMBIQUE PREPARES FOR LOCAL ELECTIONS

REF: MAPUTO 714

1. SUMMARY: Voter registration for the November 19 local
elections ended August 4; more than 90 percent of eligible
voters have registered. The Technical Secretariat for
Electoral Administration (STAE) estimates the elections will
cost $15 million. In July, several media outlets reported
allegations of false registrations, purportedly aimed at
changing political control in the RENAMO stronghold of Beira
and the FRELIMO stronghold of Maputo.

-----------------------------------------
90 Percent Voter Registration and Growing
-----------------------------------------

2. Mozambique will hold elections in its 43 municipalities
on November 19, marking the first local election held in 10
new municipalities created by the National Assembly this
April (Reftel). A final voter registration effort, July 6 to
August 4, aimed at registering those who will reach voting
age prior to the elections but after the end of the previous
voter registration effort ) March 2008 ) as well as those
who did not register previously, or whose registration is
somehow flawed. Although minority party RENAMO alleges that
voter registration did not take place in some of its
strongholds, STAE claims to have registered 9 million people,
nearly 90 percent of those eligible to vote.

--------------------
$15M Election Budget
--------------------

3. STAE estimates that the municipal elections will cost $15
million, an increase over the 2003 elections, which cost
$12.8 million. Donors heavily subsidized previous elections
but declined to subsidize the November 19 elections, instead
urging the Mozambican Government (GRM) to consolidate the
November elections with the 2009 National elections as a
cost-saving mechanism.

-----------------------------------
Allegations of Illegal Registration
-----------------------------------

4. During the latter part of July, several press articles
reported allegations of illegal voter registration.
Authorities arrested two men, who, although not residents of
Beira, long a RENAMO stronghold, claimed they were brought to
Beira and ordered by members of majority party FRELIMO to
register there. FRELIMO has made similar accusations,
alleging false registration by RENAMO members in the capital
city, long a FRELIMO sinecure. The apparent goal of the
illegal registration is to take the election away from the
party currently in control of the municipality.

5. COMMENT. The strength of the donors' refusal to pay for
the elections may be tested soon. Direct donor support
accounts for nearly 52 percent of the GRM budget; if a GRM
budget shortfall occurs, the donor countries will be asked to
make up the shortage, even if the shortage was caused, in
part, by the cost of the municipal elections. The
approximately 20 allegations of illegal registration should
not have a significant effect on the elections, since
thousands of cross-registrants would be required to shift the
outcome of the elections in the two stronghold cities. END
COMMENT

Amani

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