The European Union has described the extent of vote-rigging in last October’s elections in Mozambique as “astonishing”.
In their final report, released on Wednesday, EU observers gave a dismal assessment of the elections, saying they saw fraud at almost all stages of the process. The election, intended to consolidate a peace agreement in the southern African country, was won by the ruling Frelimo party.
The EU was particularly critical of irregularities in opposition strongholds, which it believes benefited Frelimo and its candidates.
The competence and credibility of the Mozambican electoral commission have not only been strongly indexed but also questioned by the EU. However, damning this final report may be, it seems unlikely to make an immediate difference to the Mozambican political landscape.
African observation missions and heads of state have already given their “blessing” to the election results and the winners. A successful legal challenge – as seen recently in neighboring Malawi – is considered unlikely.
But there are risks for Mozambique. Only a few months ago, a peace agreement was signed to put a definitive end to decades of civil war. An Islamist insurgency is developing in the north of the country.
A seriously marred election victory seems unlikely to ease tensions.