Mozambique: Defence minister visits theatre of operations - AIM report
Picture: O País
Mozambique’s main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, declared on Saturday that it hopes to ensure that Renamo candidates are elected governors in all ten provinces in the general elections scheduled for 15 October.
Speaking in the southern city of Matola on Saturday, the first day of the election campaign, Renamo general secretary Andre Magibire said “We fought to have elected governors in this country, and we want to place our governors in all the provinces”.
Addressing a rally in the Matola neighbourhood of Malhampswene, Magibire said “This year we want to win in all the provinces, and taste the fruit of our sacrifice as a result of our struggle”.
He was speaking alongside the Renamo candidate for the governor of Maputo province, Antonio Muchanga, who came close to becoming Mayor of Matola in last year’s municipal elections. Indeed, Muchanga claims he was only robbed of victory because of fraud allegedly committed by the ruling Frelimo Party.
The provincial election will be tougher for Muchanga than the municipal election was, since there is no sign so far of Frelimo losing its support in the smaller towns and rural areas of the province.
Magibire outlined ambitious plans which he claimed a future Renamo government would put into effect, including building a railway that will link the entire country from north to south, to solve Mozambique’s transport problems. (This idea has been lifted from the plans of the current, Frelimo government, which has repeatedly stressed the need for a north-south railway – most of the existing lines run east-west, from the coast to the interior).
Magibire blamed Mozambique’s poverty on the scandal of the “hidden debts” incurred by the previous government, under President Armando Guebuza. “If the country is in this situation, it’s because a group of people thought they should push Mozambique into misery”, he said. “The authors of the undeclared debts are the same as those who are going to ask you to vote for them. I urge you not to let yourselves be deceived again”.
The opening day of the campaign was peaceful in Matola. Frelimo and Renamo marches crossed each other’s paths, without any attempt at violence or disturbances – despite the complete absence of the police who ought to have been protecting the two marches.