Mozambique holds local elections Wednesday in a vote that could test progress in the country's peace talks after the ruling Frelimo party was accused of violence and intimidation during the campaign.
It is now hoping for a breakthrough ahead of next year's General Election, but recent electoral reforms could leave the opposition vote split.
According to reports, there are long queues in many places suggest that turnout will be higher this year than in past municipal elections, when turnout has been less than 50%. The report reveals that most polling stations opened on time at 7 am, but some opened more than two hours late due to missing materials and late allocation of polling station staff.
However, problems seemed to occur in larger cities - Beira, Maputo, Matola and Quelimane. In smaller towns such as Marrromeu and Sussendenga, some polling stations had not opened by 9 am.
In general, queues were longer in the north and centre, with over 200 voters waiting for each polling station at opening time in some places in Nampula city. Long queues were noted in Beira, Tete, Quelimane, Gurué, Catandica, Chimoio and other places.
In the south, turnout was lower in Gaza and Maputo province. In Matola and Maputo city, turnout was very variable, with long queues at some polling stations and only a handful of people at others.
The main opposition Renamo party, which has maintained an armed wing since the end of the country's civil war, is running in the municipal polls for the first time in 10 years.
Renamo fought a brutal 16-year civil war against the Marxist-inspired Frelimo government that devastated the economy and left one million people dead. When the war ended in 1992, the group soon began participating in elections.
In 2013, a wave of fresh violence erupted between Renamo rebels and government troops, raising fears of a return to civil war. But three years later, the party declared a truce and opened fresh peace talks with the government.
We hope this is the beginning of better days to come in Mozambique.
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