Mozambique president praises peace after tense poll

Mozambicans voting in South Africa are hoping their vote will make a difference back home.

MAPUTO - Mozambicans voted on Tuesday in an election which the president said should help anchor peace, while his opposition rival warned against any manipulation of the results.

The presidential, legislative and provincial polls will test the fragile two-month-old peace deal between the ruling Frelimo party and its old civil war foe turned political rival Renamo.

They are widely expected to extend Frelimo's decades-long rule over a southern African nation that is set to become one of the world's main gas exporters, but Renamo is hoping to benefit from electoral changes agreed in the peace pact.

READ: Mozambique to vote in tense, high-stakes election

"Mozambique has chosen peace," President Filipe Nyusi said after casting his ballot at a school in the capital Maputo. He praised Mozambicans for deciding their destiny in elections and called for peace and calm to continue.

A corruption scandal over government borrowing has hit the economy and damaged Nyusi's popularity.

Human Rights Watch decried the closure of ten polling stations owing to insecurity in the area of northern Mozambique where the insurgency has a foothold.

READ: Mozambique election to test fragile peace

Outside of Mozambique's remote north, the main security risk would come from a disgruntled opposition.

"If [the vote] is manipulated, we will never accept it," Renamo presidential candidate and party leader Ossufo Momade said after casting his ballot in Nampula, in the north.

"We have to do whatever we can do, if the people want us to," he said, without elaborating on the warning.

Momade is seen by analysts as less likely to turn to violence than his predecessor, but also as less able to maintain control of the party and supporters.

Polls were due to close at 6pm. Law allows 15 days for results to be announced, though they may come sooner.

Both opposition parties -- Renamo and younger challenger the MDM -- have already made allegations of vote-rigging.