The head of a local election observation mission was shot and killed by three gunmen in the southeastern city of Xai-Xai (Gaza province) on Monday, October 7. According to local media reports, the victim was attacked after finishing a training course for other national poll observers. The gunmen were involved in a road accident while attempting to flee the scene, resulting in at least one death and one attacker being arrested. Further attacks targeting election-related officials are possible in the coming days leading up to the general elections on Tuesday, October 15.
An increase in political events is anticipated over the coming days leading up to the vote. Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are anticipated around all election-related events and polling stations.
Campaigning for the general elections began in early September, with 26 political parties running for legislature and provincial seats, and four candidates competing for the presidency. Current President and leader of the Mozambican Liberation Front (Frelimo) Filipe Nyusi is running for re-election, along with the leader of the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), Ossufo Momade. At least one breakaway faction of Renamo has also threatened to increase violence if the elections are not suspended.
The October 15 general elections will be the first time that citizens will be able to vote for provincial governors. Electing provincial leaders was part of the Maputo Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement which was signed between Renamo and Frelimo leaders on August 6. The agreement formally ended months of fighting between Renamo rebels and the Defense and Security Forces.
Individuals in Mozambique are advised to keep abreast of the situation, avoid discussing sensitive political topics in public, avoid polling stations and any public demonstrations, anticipate a heightened security presence, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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