Maputo, 25 May (AIM) – The leader of Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, Ossufo Momade, has asked the Roman Catholic Church to intervene in order to convince the government to avoid fraud in the coming elections, starting with the current voter registration.
According to a report on the independent television station STV, Momade met with Catholic leaders on Thursday because, he said, Renamo is concerned with the illegalities detected in the voter registration, which could be a prelude to fraud in the municipal elections scheduled for 11 October.
He cited the registration of people who are not eligible to vote, registration outside of the normal hours, and the theft of computers used in the registration.
“The church has an important role in society”, said Momade. “It needs to do some work to convince the government, which is provoking this situation, to stop it, because it’s not the fault of the members of the registration brigades. What is happening has been ordered by somebody”.
Momade noted that members of the Political Commission of the ruling Frelimo Party are working in all the provinces, but never report any problems. “On the contrary, they always say that things are going well, when in truth they are not, and we all see this”.
He warned that the situation is so serious that, if matters did not improve before the elections, Renamo might return to war, although it did not want to do so.
The Auxiliary Bishop of the Maputo Archdiocese, Tonito Muanamona, told reporters that the concern of the church is to ensue that peace, through prayer, is not a utopia or a dead letter. It would therefore do all that it can to ensure that the elections happen as smoothly as possible.
“We, as the church, indicate as a solution, the preservation of peace”, said the Bishop. “This is the great challenge – to keep the peace that we have received from God, which is in our hands and in the hearts of each one of us”.
The paths ahead, said Muanamona, are dialogue and the union of forces to seek peaceful solutions.
As for the promise by President Filipe Nyusi that the final Renamo military base will close in June, bringing to an end the demobilization of former Renamo guerrillas, Momade warned that this will only happen if pensions for the Renamo demobilised fighters are guaranteed.
Nyusi has indeed promised that, once the final base is closed the pensions will be paid. Momade said the President will be held to that promise.
“I have to trust in what he’s saying”, he added. “He didn’t say it to Ossufo Momade, he said it to the Mozambicans and to the world”.