MDM announces by-election candidates

The opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) on Tuesday announced its candidates for the municipal by-elections in the cities of Quelimane, Pemba and Cuamba, scheduled for 7 December.

As predicted by the independent daily “O Pais”, the candidate for mayor of Cuamba is Maria Moreno, who was head of the parliamentary group of the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, between 2005 and 2009.

When Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama expelled the mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango from Renamo, and Simango set up the MDM, Moreno was one of a significant group of Renamo deputies who defected to the new party.

In the October 2009 general elections, Moreno headed the MDM list of parliamentary candidates in Niassa candidates. But the MDM did not obtain enough votes in Niassa for her to achieve a seat.

The MDM candidate for mayor of Quelimane, capital of the central province of Zambezia, is Manuel de Araujo. He is an academic, and one of the intellectuals whom Renamo recruited to its ranks for the 2004 parliamentary elections.

Elected as a Renamo deputy from Zambezia, Araujo soon became disillusioned with the way Renamo was run, and he too transferred his allegiance to the MDM.

For mayor of Pemba, the MDM candidate is the hitherto unknown Assamo Tique.

Since Dhakama has announced that Renamo is boycotting the by-elections, the MDM candidates are likely to be the most serious opposition force faced by the ruling Frelimo Party, which holds a comfortable majority in the municipal assemblies in the three cities.

The by-elections were precipitated when the mayors of Quelimane, Pemba and Cuamba, respectively Pio Matos, Sidique Yacub and Arnaldo Maloa, all resigned. They had been elected on the Frelimo ticket in 2008, and it was reported that Frelimo, dissatisfied with their performance, requested their resignations (though the three men themselves cite “personal reasons”).

It is not yet known whether any of Mozambique’s multitude of extra-parliamentary parties will stand candidates in the by-elections.

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Post published in: Africa News

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