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Mayors elected in the October local elections take office today. In Chiúre, northern Mozambique, Renamo will govern for the first time, and the political landscape in the region is expected to change.
It is a historic day in Chiúre municipality, Cabo Delgado province. The National Resistance Mozambican (Renamo) and its head of list, Alicora Ntutunha, is taking office for the first time in an area traditionally considered a Liberation Front of Mozambique (Frelimo) stronghold.
For Renamo, this inauguration deconstructs the old narrative that the province’s electorate are all members of the ruling party.
Cabo Delgado is a symbolic province. It was here that, at the instigation of Frelimo, Mozambique’s struggle for independence of began, and where the first liberated zones emerged. But Singano Assane, Renamo’s political delegate in Cabo Delgado, stresses that the province “is not Frelimo’s.”
“Today, if Renamo is ruling in Cabo Delgado, it is the response the people are giving Frelimo, to show that the province is not Frelimo’s,” Assane said in an interview with DW Africa.
Renamo confident in the future
Could Chiúre be just the starting point for a possible expansion of Renamo in the forthcoming October 15 general election?
“I believe we will have positive results in the next elections,” Assane says. “The people know about everything that is happening – they are very advanced. Democracy has grown in the country, so people know what they are doing.”
Cabo Delgado is also President Filipe Nyusi’s birthplace, but sociologist Reginaldo Mutemba says the October local elections showed that the birthplace of the head of state does not determine the party’s choice when it comes to voting.
Mutemba says the election of Cabo Delgado first Renamo administration is a sign that popular sympathy for the party is increasing. But the university professor warns that Renamo’s run of victories will only continue if it fulfils citizens’ expectations.
“The change from one party to another has not always resulted in the resolution of problems,” he points out.
Fulfil the promises
Academic Rafael Martinho also says that Renamo’s appearance as Chiúre’s new leadership results from the constant frustration of the village voters’ expectations of Frelimo.
“Now they see the opposition as an alternative response to their demands. [But] this is not static. People change according to times and according to promises that have not been fulfilled,” he says.
Martinho points out that if the new mayor of Chiúre manages to improve living conditions, it would play in Renamo’s favour in the forthcoming general election. Otherwise, the electorate may choose differently.
Deutsche WelleSource: Deutsche Welle
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