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Mozambican police have prevented the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) party presenting their municipal elections candidate in neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Maputo on the grounds that the main opposition party is campaigning ahead of schedule.
“We are leaving today to perform routine political activity: talking to the people of the neighbourhood and introducing our candidate, but curiously we have been barred by the police,” Venancio Mondlane, the Renamo candidate for Maputo in the October elections recently barred from standing by the National Commission of Elections told Lusa.
The rally began around 8:30 a.m., when dozens of Renamo members holding party flags and banners, gathered in the Avenida de Moçambique.
The police arrived a few hours later, accompanied by the president of the District Election Commission, and prevented Renamo from continuing its tour of the Unidade 7, Luís Cabral and Jardim neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Maputo.
“This is not campaign activity,” Venâncio Mondlane said, while noting that on Wednesday afternoon the Mozambican Liberation Front (Frelimo – the ruling party) presented its Maputo candidate in the Polana Caniço neighbourhood at a rally at which the party also announced “the outlines of its manifesto for the October election”.
Lusa contacted Leonel Muchina, a Mozambican police spokesman in Maputo, who said that the police had acted to “protect the law” which prohibits political parties from engaging in activities that could be confused with the electoral campaign ahead of schedule.
Asked about the Frelimo rally in Polana Caniço on Wednesday, Muchina said he had not been informed about the event, which took place on a football field and also featured several Mozambican musicians.
On Monday, the Mozambican National Elections Commission barred Mondlane from standing in the October 10 election after a vote requested by his former party, the Movimento Democrático de Moçambique (MDM), which maintained his candidacy was illegal as a result of him having resigned from the Maputo Municipal Assembly in 2015.
Renamo has accused the National Electoral Commission of Mozambique of being a “source of conflict” during elections, alleging that the rejection of Mondlane’s candidacy was politically motivated and adding that the party would appeal the decision.