Mozambique: Ad-Hoc Commission Chosen for Selecting Cne Members

Maputo — The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Wednesday appointed an ad-hoc commission that will select the members from civil society organisations who will join a new National Elections Commission (CNE).

The ad-hoc commission consists of five deputies – three from the ruling Frelimo Party (Antonio Amelia, Lucilia Nota Hama and Goncalves Maceda), one from the main opposition party, Renamo (Jose Manteigas), and one from the Mozambique Democratic Movement, MDM (Jose Domingos Manuel). Amelia will chair the Commission, and Maneigas will be its rapporteur.

The CNE is a top-heavy, unprofessional and deeply politicised body. Thanks to a law passed in February 2014, under pressure from Renamo, it has 17 members – five from Frelimo, four from Renamo, one from the MDM, and seven from civil society.

But the civil society members are not genuinely chosen by civil society. Instead, names are put forward, and then the Assembly Ad-Hoc Commission chooses from among them. Thus the names from civil society organisations are filtered through the three political parties, and, with a majority on the Ad-Hoc Commission, Frelimo has a clear veto.

The CNE has support bodies in the shape of the provincial and district election commissions, formed in much the same way. They each have three members appointed by Frelimo, two from Renamo, one from the MDM and nine from civil society. Again, the civil society members are filtered through the political parties.

This means that there are literally thousands of political appointees in the provinces and districts, and the danger is that they will look after the interests of their parties rather than of the wider electorate.

Genuine civil society bodies have protested strongly at the way the CNE is formed. A statement issued by several meaningful civil society bodies, such as the Women’s Forum, the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), and the Forum of Community Radios (FORCOM) have demanded that the members from civil society on the CNE “should be elected in an independent and transparent manner, doing away with the current model whereby those chosen are previously approved by the political parties with seats in parliament”.

They described the seating of civil soceity members on the CNE as “a process that has been captured by the political parties represented in the Assembly and we, as civil society organisations, demand immediate reforms”.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique