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Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party on Saturday announced its ten candidates for the positions of provincial governors, three of whom are women.
This year, for the first time, the governors will be directly elected, rather than appointed by the President. The provincial assemblies will be elected on 15 October, at the same time as the presidential and parliamentary elections. The head of the list of whichever party secures a majority in a provincial assembly will automatically become the provincial governor.
President Filipe Nyusi, in his capacity as President of Frelimo, announced the list of candidates for governor, at the end of a one day meeting of the Frelimo Central Committee, which also approved the Party’s manifesto for the October elections.
The list marks the full rehabilitation of the former mayor of the central city of Quelimane, Pio Matos, who is now the Frelimo candidate for governor of Zambezia province.
In 2011, Frelimo told Matos to resign, and he obeyed the party’s instruction. Allegations of financial misconduct during his period of mayor were made, but nothing was ever proved against him. Despite his treatment by the party, Matos has remained a loyal member of Frelimo.
Forcing Matos to resign was a disastrous miscalculation. In the ensuing by-election in December 2011, the candidate of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), Manuel de Araujo, won with 63 per cent of the vote. Quelimane has been in opposition hands ever since – Araujo won re-election in the national municipal elections of 2013 and 2018 (although on the latter occasion, he betrayed the MDM and ran as the candidate of the larger opposition party, Renamo).
The Zambezia election in October looks to be one of the most hard fought in the country, with three highly experienced candidates battling to become governor. Araujo clearly sees Quelimane as a stepping stone to greater things, and is now the Renamo candidate for governor. He is competing against not only Pio Matos, but also against the former general secretary of the MDM, Luis Boavida.
A second surprise comes in Sofala, where Frelimo has chosen businessman Lourenco Bulha as its candidate. He was Frelimo first secretary in Sofala from 2005 until the Party’s Political commission sacked him in 2008. That was shortly after he lost the election for Mayor of Beira to Daviz Simango. At the time Simago was running as an independent candidate, but went on to found the MDM the following year.
Of the current provincial governors, only one has been chosen to run in the same province that he currently governs – he is the governor of Inhambane, Daniel Chapo. Three of the current governors are moved to other provinces – thus the governor of Niassa, Francisca Tomas, will run in her home province of Manica. The governor of Cabo Delgado, Julio Parruque, is the candidate for Maputo province, while the current Manica governor, Manuel Rodrigues, becomes the candidate for Nampula.
The candidate for Gaza is Margarida Mapanzene, who is currently a Frelimo parliamentary deputy for Gaza. In Tete, Frelimo is running Domingos Viola, who is currently administrator of the Tete district of Doa.
The candidates for Niassa and Cabo Delgado, Judite Massangele and Valigy Tawabo, are lesser known figures who have not held senior positions before.
The full list of candidates for governor is as follows:
Niassa: Judite Massangele
Cabo Delgado: Valigy Tawabo
Nampula: Manuel Rodrigues
Zambezia: Pio Matos
Tete: Domingos Viola
Manica: Francisca Tomas
Sofala: Lourenco Bulha
Inhambane: Daniel Chapa
Gaza: Margarida Mapanzene
Maputo: Julio Parruque
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