By Charles Mangwiro
Maputo - Mozambique's main opposition Renamo party on Tuesday rejected partial results of last week's general election, accusing the ruling Frelimo of stuffing ballot boxes.
According to figures released on Sunday, Frelimo was headed for a resounding victory in the national polls that would allow it to change the constitution at will and hand President Armando Guebuza a second term in office.
Renamo candidate Afonso Dhlakama was seen taking 15 percent of the vote in the presidential contest, with Davis Simango, head of the new Movement for Democratic Change (MDM), in third place with 10 percent.
Renamo electoral office spokesperson Ivone Soares said the October 28 presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections were fraudulent.
She accused electoral commission officials of distributing extra ballot papers to Frelimo members and supporters, enabling them to stuff ballot boxes.
"This kind of fraud, on its own, shows that the elections were neither free nor transparent," said Soares.
The MDM, which split from Renamo, the former rebel movement that is now the main opposition, had been seen as close behind Guebuza until many of its candidates were barred because of registration irregularities. That raised questions over the integrity of the polls.
Millionaire businessman Guebuza is seen as welcoming greater investment in a country with tourist potential and untapped mineral and energy resources that have started to draw foreign companies, particularly from neighbouring South Africa.
While investors will probably welcome a Guebuza victory, he faces growing pressure to accommodate a new generation of voters.
Though one of Africa's poorest countries, Mozambique has growing economic potential. Guebuza has said he would simplify investment laws, cut red tape and press on with market liberalisation. But he faces growing calls to provide more jobs and housing.
Frelimo spokesperson Edson Macuacua said the polls were fair and the accusations showed how "lost and desperate" Renamo is.
The elections were the fourth multi-party polls since the end of the civil war in 1992, and monitors said they were generally well run.
Felisberto Naife, a senior electoral commission official, said he was not aware of any ballot stuffing. - Reuters