By-elections: CNE plans meeting with parties

Mozambican political parties interested in contesting the municipal by-elections in the cities of Quelimane, Pemba and Cuamba, scheduled for 7 December, will receive all the necessary documentation at a meeting on Thursday between the National Elections Commission (CNE) and the parties.

According to CNE spokesperson Juvenal Bucuane, cited in Tuesday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, the main point of the meeting is to explain to the parties all the legal requirements and procedures for the presentation of candidates.

“At this meeting we shall give them all the documentation concerning the procedures for these elections”, said Bucuane. “As from then, the parties will possess the concrete information allowing them to present their candidates”.

In this way, the CNE hopes to clear up any doubts, and avoid later complaints by the parties. “This is a new strategy”, he said. “Previously we put announcements in the press and waited for the parties to come and register. This time we want a face-to-face meeting with the parties, to explain the rules of the game”.

Under the timetable drawn up by the CNE, candidates must be registered by 8 October. By 28 October the CNE must check the eligibility of the candidates and the validity of the documents they present. Candidates must correct any irregularities, also by 28 October, when the definitive list of candidates will be announced.

The CNE has proposed a budget of 27 million meticais (about a million US dollars) for the three by-elections, but the government has yet to approve this figure. Bucuane said there would be slight alterations to the budget, but “nothing substantial”.

While no candidates have been formally announced so far, sources within the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) told “O Pais” that Maria Moreno and Manuel de Araujo will be the party’s candidates for mayors of Cuamba and Quelimane respectively.

Maria Moreno is a native of Cuamba, and was head of the parliamentary group of the largest opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, between 2005 and 2009. She was one of several Renamo deputies who switched allegiance to the newly formed MDM in 2009.

In the parliamentary elections of October 2009, she headed the MDM list in the northern province of Niassa (where Cuamba is located), but failed to gain a seat,

Manuel de Araujo is an academic from Quelimane, who was also a Renamo deputy in the 2005-2009 parliament.

The “O Pais” source rejected earlier speculation that the MDM General Secretary, Luis Boavida, would be the candidate for Quelimane. “The General Secretary has other tasks inside the party”, he said.

As for the ruling Frelimo Party, it is still discussing possible candidates. The head of the Frelimo Central Brigade for Zambezia Province, Veronica Macamo (who is also chairperson of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic), has challenged the party’s membership in Zambezia to find a candidate for mayor who will best serve the interests of the nation in Quelimane.

Speaking at a meeting of the Provincial Secretariat in Quelimane, Macamo said that the by-elections, and the Frelimo 10th Congress, scheduled for September 2012, “require from all of us great persistence and determination so as to ensure victory over poverty in Quelimane and throughout the country”.

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