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File photo: MDM grupo parlamentar
The opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) on Thursday chose Fernando Bismarque as its candidate for mayor of the northern city of Nampula in the municipal elections scheduled for 10 October.
According to a statement issued by the MDM parliamentary group, the decision was taken at a meeting of MDM members and sympathisers in Nampula, who decided that Bismarque would be head of the list of MDM candidates for the city’s Municipal Assembly. Under the constitutional amendments passed last month by the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, the head of the list of whichever party or group wins most votes in the municipal assembly elections will become mayor.
Nampula used to have an MDM mayor. He was Mahamudo Amurane, who won a convincing victory in the 2013 municipal elections. But Amurane was assassinated in October last year, and in the ensuing mayoral by-election, held in two rounds in January and March, the MDM candidate, Carlos Saide, dropped to third place.
The candidate of the rebel movement Renamo, Paulo Vahanle, won the by-election, but he must work with a municipal assembly where Renamo does not have a single member, since the party boycotted the 2013 elections. The majority in the Nampula assembly is still held by the MDM.
Bismarque used to be a journalist, working on the independent television station STV. He is currently the spokesperson for the MDM parliamentary group. If he becomes mayor of Nampula, he will have to resign his parliamentary seat.
The MDM is the only party so far which has announced candidates for the October elections. It has said that it will run all three of its current mayors for further terms of office. Thus MDM members in Beira have called for the party’s president, Daviz Simango, to run for an unprecedented fourth term.
Simango first won in Beira as the mayoral candidate of Renamo in 2003. When the then leader of Renamo, Afonso Dhlakama, refused to run Simango for a second term in 2008, there was a rebellion among the Beira Renamo membership, which led to Simango’s re-election, as an independent candidate, and to the creation of the MDM the following year. Simango, now running as leader of the MDM, secured a third term of office in 2013.
The MDM is also proposing Manuel de Araujo for a further term as mayor of Quelimane. Araujo became mayor of this central Mozambican city in a 2011 by-election, and then won again in the 2013 nationwide municipal elections. The MDM mayor of the town of Gurue, Orlando Janeiro, has also been endorsed for a second term.
Last year, MDM members in Maputo overwhelmingly endorsed Venancio Mondlane as their candidate for mayor. Maputo used to be regarded as a stronghold of the ruling Frelimo Party – but in 2013 Mondlane cut the Frelimo share of the vote from 85 to 58 per cent.
Neither Frelimo nor Renamo have yet announced any candidates. It is not clear whether the MDM’s early announcement of candidates will have any impact on the attempts (apparently supported by both Araujo and Mondlane) to form an opposition coalition against Frelimo in at least some of the municipalities.Source: AIM
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