Maputo, 16 Jul (AIM) – Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party on Saturday and Sunday chose its candidates for the assemblies that will be elected to the municipal assemblies in October.
Whoever is head of the list of candidates that wins most votes in the municipal elections will become the Mayor. Attention was thus concentrated on Frelimo’s mayoral candidates – and in several cases, they were elected unopposed, with 100 per cent of the vote, because other candidates, initially on the Frelimo short lists, had dropped out.
In Maputo city, the mayoral candidate is Razaque Manhique, who is currently the Frelimo First Party Secretary in the city. The outgoing mayor, Eneas Comiche, did not even make it onto the short list.
After his victory on Saturday, Manhique told reporters that he is confident of victory. He claimed that a Frelimo win in the municipal elections is “a national imperative”.
In the neighbouring city of Matola, the Frelimo conference elected unanimously Julio Parruque, currently the Maputo provincial governor, as the mayoral candidate. The outgoing mayor, Callisto Cossa, who has been in office for the last ten years, announced that he would run again – but changed his mind. He withdrew his name three days before the vote.
Matola has now overtaken Maputo city to become the largest municipality in the country.
In the new municipality of Marracuene town, 30 kilometres north of Maputo, as had been predicted, the dynamic district administrator, Shafee Sidat, becomes the mayoral candidate.
In Matola-Rio, a second new municipality in Maputo province, a local businessman, Abdul Gafar, heads the Frelimo list.
In the central city of Quelimane, a well-known local musician, Lourenco “Ney” Gini, heads the Frelimo list, with the difficult task of taking the city out of the hands of the main opposition party, Renamo.
The current mayor, Manuel de Araujo, has been in office since 2011, when he won a mayoral by-election, on the ticket of the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). He won again for the MDM in the nationwide municipal elections of 2013, but in 2018, he defected to Renamo. Ney Gani is a cousin of Araujo.
Gani won 100 per cent of the votes in the Frelimo conference, because two other candidates dropped out. “This is a victory for all the citizens of Quelimane”, he declared.
In the northern city of Pemba, Satar Abdulgani became the mayoral candidate, but faced opposition from two other candidates who did not drop out. According to the report on the independent television station, STV, Abdulgani won 33 out of a possible 66 votes.
In the western city of Tete, the election was also contested. The incumbent mayor, Cesar de Carvalho, won with 57 votes from the 67 Frelimo militants entitled to vote.
In Chimoio, capital of the central province of Manica, the incumbent mayor, Joao Ferreira, widely regarded as one of Frelimo’s most competent local politicians, defeated two others, to be confirmed as candidate for a second term.
By Sunday lunchtime, the inner-party elections were continuing in several major municipalities, including Mozambique’s third largest city, Nampula. But the result is not in doubt, since there is only one candidate, the current governor of Nampula province, Manuel Rodrigues.
Nampula is the jewel in the opposition’s crown, since Renamo won five out of the seven municipalities in the province, when elections were held in 2018. Rodrigues will contest the October election against the current Renamo mayor of Nampula city, Paulo Vahanle.
Meanwhile, the National Elections Commission (CNE) has announced that 22 political parties, coalitions and citizens’ groups have applied to contest the municipal elections.
They include the three parliamentary parties (Frelimo, Renamo and the MDM, who have announced that they will contest all 65 municipalities) and 19 minor organisations which have no representation in parliament, or in any of the municipal and provincial assemblies. Most of the minor parties have no publications, or even websites, and the chances of them winning any seats in October must be regarded as minimal.
The CNE is now checking the documentation submitted by the parties to ensure that it does not violate the electoral legislation.
The parties that pass this hurdle must submit the nomination papers for their candidates between 20 July and 11 August.