Mozambique: 1999 Election review

Updated March 2002

In late March 1999, a new CNE (National Elections Commission) was appointed to supervise the second multiparty presidential and parliamentary elections. It comprised 17 members, of which 2 were appointed by the government, 8 by the Frente de Libertaçâo de Moçambique (FRELIMO), 6 by the Resistência Nacional de Moçambique (RENAMO) and 1 by the UD. Reverend Jamisse Taimo, a Methodist Pastor and rector of the Higher Institute for International Relations, was appointed as the chairperson of the 1999 CNE. In late March 1999, Antonio Carasco was appointed as the new director general of the STAE (Technical Secretariate for the Administration of Elections).

The 1999 Electoral Law provides for greater transparency by ensuring that every aspect of the electoral process can be monitored by all the interested parties. The inclusion of party representatives not only in the CNE, but also in the STAE at national, provincial and district levels has created more confidence in the electoral machinery.

Voter registration took place from 20 July to 17 September 1999 in conformity with the legal requirement of 60 days. While the total population of Mozambique was estimated at 18.2 million inhabitants in 1996, the voting age population is assumed to be around 8.3 million. A total of 7 099 105 people registered for the 1999 elections (85.5% of the eligible population) compared to 6.1 million people (78%) in 1994.

The 1999 presidential and National Assembly elections in Mozambique were won by Joaquim Chissano and FRELIMO. Chissano was re-elected President of the Republic with 52.3% of the votes, against 47.7% for the leader of RENAMO, Afonso Dhlakama.

For its part, the ruling party, FRELIMO, consolidated its parliamentary majority by obtaining 48.5% of the vote against 38.8% to RENAMO-UE. In terms of overall representation RENAMO, which secured 112 seats in the 1994 Parliament, increased its representation to 117 seats, of which only 100 were from the party and 12 could be attributed to its coalition partners.

However, RENAMO rejected the official declaration of results when they were announced on 22 December 1999, alleging widespread electoral fraud. While the crux of the RENAMO allegations was the charge of fraudulent compilation of the 11 provincial results which form the basis of representation in parliament, RENAMO also alleged that its members were denied full access to the provincial computer centres tasked with the counting and transmission of results to Maputo. Both the Supreme Court and Frelimo have rejected RENAMO's allegations.

The Supreme Court rejected RENAMO-UE's claims and validated the results announced by the National Electoral Commission on the 4 January 2000.

After losing the legal battle, RENAMO-Electoral Union threatened to boycott the inauguration session of Parliament. However, the National Council of RENAMO reached the decision that their MPs should attend the inauguration session. Only three of the RENAMO MPs were absent from the swearing in session. RENAMO also threatened to install parallel governments in the provinces where it won a majority of parliamentary seats, namely, Manica, Nampula, Sofala, Tete and Zambezia.

On 14 January 2000, members of Parliament were inaugurated in a session convened by the President of the Republic as stipulated in the Constitution of Mozambique. During this session Joachim Mulembwe was re-elected as president of the Assembly of the Republic.