More than 1,700 observers oversee Mozambican elections

27 Oct 2009

Maputo - Mozambique is almost ready for the elections. Seven helicopters are making the last material deliveries to the polling posts. The police are stationed to secure peace during the elections. The observer groups too, are geared up for their important role.

More than 2,000 observers, national and international, will oversee the presidential, legislative and provincial assembly elections taking place on 28 October in Mozambique. They will observe the quality and smoothness of the polling process at some of the 12,600 polling stations.

The Mozambican elections have gathered over 1,600 national observers from civil society organizations and 485 observers from seven international observer groups. “I am very excited about [my] volunteer mission to Manica. I am open to the process and will observe according to my best ability, being impartial and discreet”, says HIV Scientist Beverly Cummings from the US Embassy.

Beverly Cummings is one of about 70 members of the International Observer Mission which the international community in Mozambique has asked UNDP to help coordinate. The mission is made up of staff from 12 diplomatic missions to the country. Staff from the Danish, German, Irish, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swiss and US Embassies and the High Commissions of Canada and the UK are all taking part.   

During pre-election briefings, Beverly learned that the role of the observers is to collect information how the voting process is conducted at polling stations: its adherence to the voting laws and regulations, and its orderliness. She was also informed of the basics of the Mozambican elections process: observer status, electoral laws, code of conduct and observation form completion.

Based on compiled observer information, the preliminary and final reports of the mission will likely offer suggestions to the Mozambican government on how the electoral process can be improved. For example, in past elections the number of voters exceeded the capacity of the polling stations, which led to long queues and delays in closing the polling station.     

In addition to this mission, there are several other international observer missions, from the European Union, SADC, the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA), the African Union (AU), the Commonwealth and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), as well as two missions of parliamentarians, from the SADC countries and from the European Parliament.