Mozambique: Peace agreements alone not enough, says Nyusi - AIM report
Razaque Manhique. [Picture: O País]
An extraordinary session of the Maputo City committee of Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party on Saturday elected Razaque Manhique as the new first party secretary for the capital.
Manhique defeated his sole opponent, Amosse Chicualacuala, by 92 votes to 19. Since December 2018, the job of first secretary had been held on an interim basis by Esmeralda Muthemba, who was appointed to the position by the Frelimo Political Commission.
Muthemba replaced Francisco Mabjaia, who was sacked on 5 December, along with all other members of the Frelimo city secretariat. The city committee voted to sack Mabjaia by 87 votes to one (presumably his own).
He was clearly dismissed for mishandling the October municipal elections. He had played a key role in excluding two candidates who were strongly favoured by younger members of Frelimo in the city – Samora Machel Junior (“Samito”), the son of the first President of Mozambique, Samora Machel, and the actor and theatre director, Gilberto Mendes.
Instead, Frelimo Political Commission member, Eneas Comiche, who is a former mayor of the city, was chosen as the candidate. Although there is no doubt about Comiche’s competence and integrity, he is 79 years old, and the decision to run him came as a surprise to many young people inside and outside Frelimo.
The decision precipitated a rift in the party, when Machel announced that he would run as an independent. He became the mayoral candidate of the Youth Association for the Development of Mozambique (AJUDEM), but AJUDEM’s name was kept off the ballot paper because it did not have enough candidates to fill all the seats available on the Maputo Municipal Assembly. AJUDEM says this was because pressure was put on several of its members to take their names off the list of candidates.
Manhique is a former Deputy Chairperson of the Maputo Municipal Assembly, and head of the Frelimo group in the Assembly. Last year had been considered a possible Frelimo candidate for the job of mayor.
After the Saturday vote, Manhique told AIM that his election “shows the trust that Frelimo places in Mozambican youth, and is a recognition of the role that young people can play inside the party and in the development of the country”.
Manhique believes that the main challenge facing Frelimo in Maputo city is to strengthen the party’s internal unity and cohesion, in order “to roll up our sleeves and redouble our efforts to guarantee the historic victory of the Frelimo (Presidential) candidate, Filipe Nyusi, in the coming elections”.
He added that Frelimo will work to ensure that it wins all 13 parliamentary seats allocated to Maputo city.
He claimed that the residents of the capital place a great deal of trust in Frelimo, which adds still further to the party’s responsibilities.
“We must continue to share the life of our beloved population, listening to their concerns so that we can respond effectively to the challenges they pose”, said Manhique. “We have to show that we are ready to continue representing their interests”.
He declined to make any comment about the December sacking of Mabjaia. “There are no problems in Frelimo, and when there are, we sit down and solve them”, he said.
Candidates: 12 out of 13 elected
The same meeting also elected 12 of Frelimo’s 13 candidates for Maputo city parliamentary seats. The 13th candidate, who will head the Frelimo list, will be a member of the Party’s Political Commission.
Seven of those elected are already members of parliament. The other six are new blood. This is in line with the Frelimo principle of “renewal in continuity”, in which the list of candidates must contain 60 per cent of people who were already members, and 40 per cent newcomers.
Among the changes made is that Antonio Hama Thai, a former chief of staff of the armed forces, is dropped from full candidate to supplementary candidate. The supplementary candidates will only enter parliament if full candidates die or resign.
At the meeting of the Frelimo Maputo provincial committee, held in the city of Matola, there was a major upset, when the current spokesperson for the Frelimo parliamentary group, Eduardo Galiza-Matos Junior, failed in his bid to be re-elected as a full candidate. He was relegated to the position of supplementary candidate.Source: AIM