Vote Counting in Angola Marred by Irregularities

The Angolan National Electoral Commission (CNE) announced yesterday that it has already processed the tallying of the final results of the August 23 elections in 11 of the 18 provinces, according to its spokesperson, Júlia Ferreira. These are the provinces of Bengo, Benguela, Cabinda, Cuando-Cubango, Cunene, Huíla, Kwanza-Norte, Kwanza-Sul, Luanda, Moxico and Zaire.

However, the Angolan opposition parties claim that 11 of the country’s 18 provinces – Bengo, Bié, Cuando-Cubango, Cunene, Huambo, Kwanza-Sul, Luanda, Lunda-Norte, Lunda-Sul, Malanje, Moxico – have still not verified their results as the law requires.

This list includes five of the provinces in which the CNE declares the counting is complete: Bengo, Cuando-Cubango, Kwanza-Sul, Luanda, and Moxico. The various provincial electoral commissions have declared that they have completed their task, but the commissioners appointed by opposition parties are refusing to approve the vote tallies from these provinces.

According to the list that Maka Angola had access to, in Huila province the opposition noted that the count was carried out ‘with many irregularities – it wasn’t properly done’ and some commissioners refused to sign the tally to certify the results. In Namibe province, the opposition notes that scrutiny of the results was conducted only partially, so there too the opposition did not accept the results.

UNITA accuses the CNE of continuing to obstruct the process of checking the votes from the August 23 election in the manner prescribed by the law.

In its complaint to the CNE, UNITA accuses the commission of producing and announcing provisional results that initially granted victory to the ruling MPLA with 64.75%, “outside of the provisions of the Law on General Elections (law 36/11 of 21 December).”

According to UNITA, corroborated by the other opposition parties, “the system for receiving faxes at the National Tallying Center in Talatona, Luanda, did not work, which casts doubt upon the credibility of these provisional results”.

UNITA was pleased to note that “only the provincial election commissions in Cabinda, Uige and Zaire respected the law in this respect, and the procedure is currently also ongoing in the provinces of Bié, Huila and Kwanza-Sul”.

In Zaire all the opposition parties certified the verification document with the results from that electoral circuit. The MPLA had a clear win, gaining three members of parliament (MP) in the provincial circuit with 67,019 votes, while UNITA 34,943 votes e a CASA-CE (23,463 votes) each gained one MP.

Meanwhile, according to UNITA, in Cunene, Namibe, Kuando Kubango, Huambo, Lunda Sul, Lunda Norte, Moxico, and especially Luanda,”the provincial electoral commissions continue along the path of breaking the law, obeying obscure orders, with the clear intention of imposing another result’, in violation of article 130 of law 36/11.”

UNITA accuses the CNE of persisting in breaking the electoral law. “We note the articles 126, 127 and 128 of this law demand that provincial verification by one on the base of the total of the records of all the voting tables, in each province,” a UNITA statement says.

“Without the centralization of provincial results, under the terms of article 131 of said law, there can be no definitive results, which are essential for the distribution of [parliamentary] mandates,” the statement insists.

Yesterday, the opposition-nominated commissioners of the Benguela Provincial Electoral Commission (CPE) signed a joint complaint, addressed to the CPE plenary, distancing themselves from the ongoing procedures. The commissioners stated that Benguela CPE did nothing other than analyze “the void and contested ballot papers”. The six signatories consider this to be insufficient since, “according to the Law, provincial tabulation is carried out based on the tallies of the polling stations and other documents that the CNE determines …”. Since they consider the act illegal, the six commissioners do not recognise the electoral results that the provincial commission has produced.

Maka Angola has been collecting testimony about people sent from Luanda, supposedly as ‘CNE information technology (IT) experts’, on a mission to impose results devised in Luanda, and to co-opt opposition representatives to endorse them.

In Bié, “there are people who came from Luanda and say they are IT experts at the service of the CNE, who have nothing to do with the work we are doing. There are two white people among them, presumed to be foreigners. We distrust this completely, “says one member of the opposition.

A source in Luanda tells Maka Angola that the ‘technicians’ sent to the province are working for the Security Bureau of the Presidency of the Republic, and in some cases the Spanish company INDRA, which supplied the electoral material.

“Some of these individuals have indicated they are trying to corrupt our nominees and list delegates, as they say, “to make the job easier” by signing the tallies they have brought from Luanda. ‘We do not accept that,” the opposition member said on condition of anonymity.

In Bie, the opposition demands a recount of all ballot boxes, “based on transparency,” because according to a complaint delivered to the provincial commission, some ballot boxes were included illicitly in the total.

“We demand a recount of the votes in these boxes, based on the mapping of polling stations and electoral rolls, so that there is transparency,” says the same source.

As an example, the complainant cites and villages where the number of votes presented by the CPE exceeds the number of local voters.

UNITA reports that it has filed more than 10 complaints between August 26 and 27, and is prepared to take the case to the Constitutional Court to demand compliance with the electoral law in the determination of the electoral results.