Maputo, 17 Jul (AIM) – Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party on Sunday concluded the inner-party elections for the candidates who will contest the municipal elections scheduled for 11 October.
Particular attention was focused on the central city of Beira, which has been run by the opposition since 2003.
Whoever is head of the list of candidates that wins most votes in the municipal elections will become the Mayor. The head of the Frelimo list in Beira was the current Secretary of State for Sofala province, Stella Pinto Zeca. She was unopposed, since the two other candidates, initially on the short list, dropped out. So Zeca won all 67 votes at stake in the Frelimo Beira conference.
In her victory speech, Zeca declared “Frelimo must take responsibility for the development of Beira”.
She is thus determined to wrest the city out of the hands of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). The MDM’s founder, Daviz Simango, was mayor of Beira from 2003 until his death from illness in February 2021.
The election in Beira in October could be a three sided affair – between Zeca, the current MDM mayor, Albano Carige, and Geraldo de Carvalho, of the main opposition party, Renamo. Carvalho was a founder member of the MDM, but he defected to Renamo in 2018.
The MDM has not yet announced its list of mayoral candidates. It has been waiting, in the hope that Renamo will accept its proposal for a coalition between the two opposition parties.
In 24 out of the 44 municipalities that Frelimo won in the last local elections in 2018, the party is running the incumbent mayors for a further term of office, but in the other 20 the candidates are new.
There were nine municipalities won by Renamo or the MDM in 2018, and there are 12 newly established municipalities, bringing the total to 65.
Municipalities where the current mayor has been denied the chance to stand for a further term of office include Matola, which has overtaken Maputo to become the most populous city in the country. Mayor Calisto Cossa, who has governed the city for the past ten years, fully intended to run for a third term, and was on the short list of three candidates initially approved by the Frelimo Political Commission.
But Cossa was persuaded to withdraw his name in favour of the current governor of Maputo province, Julio Parruque.
Other municipalities where the Frelimo inner-party election conferences declined to choose the incumbent mayor as candidate include Xai-Xai, capital of Gaza province, the town of Vilanculo, on the Inhambane coast, and Pemba, capital of the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
One politician whose fortunes have suddenly revived is Rui Chong Saw, the former mayor of Nacala Port, who was defeated by Renamo in 2018. He is now the head of the Frelimo list for the new municipality of Mossuril, in Nampula province.