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The mayor of the central Mozambican city of Quelimane, Manuel de Araujo, on Wednesday described the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), the party of which he has been a member for the past nine years, as “a party consisting of bandits”.
He was speaking to a crowd of members and supporters of the rebel movement Renamo, who had gathered outside Quelimane Town Hall, where the Quelimane Municipal Assembly had just voted unanimously to sack Araujo from his job as mayor.
It is thanks to the MDM that Araujo has become a prominent figure in Mozambican politics. He became mayor of Quelimane on the MDM ticket in a by-election in 2011, and the MDM gave him its full support when he ran again in the 2013 municipal elections.
The next round of elections is scheduled for 10 October, and the MDM in Quelimane wanted to run Araujo as its candidate again. But instead, Araujo defected to Renamo – a party he had once belonged to, but abandoned in 2008.
Araujo told the enthusiastic Renamo crowd that the MDM “bandits” are “promoting intrigues and tribalism in Mozambique in order to foment outside interests to destroy the consolidation of democracy built with sacrifice in the country”.
All 36 members of the municipal assembly present at the Wednesday meeting voted to sack Araujo. The ruling Frelimo Party is in opposition in Quelimane, but it joined forces with the MDM in the drive to get rid of Araujo.
The head of the Frelimo group in the Assembly, Rijone Bombino, said there was an incompatibility between Araujo’s election on an MDM ticket, and his campaigning now to be re-elected as head of the Renamo list.
He added that Araujo “was always out of line with pursuing the destinies of municipal citizens to a successful outcome, and opted instead for speeches opposed to collective interests”.
The head of the MDM group, Feliciano Salato, agreed that Araujo had to be removed. He said that, ever since Araujo had defected to Renamo a few weeks ago, he has constantly been promoting Renamo pre-campaign activities to the detriment of the commitments in the MDM manifesto on which he was elected in 2013.
Araujo told reporters that the Assembly had no right to sack him, and that he was entitled to join a different party to contest the forthcoming elections. He believed his behaviour was protected under the Mozambican constitution.
“I want to make it clear to public opinion that, in the light of the current legislation on municipalities, it is not true that the mayor has lost his job, despite what some members of the Municipal Assembly want”, he declared.Source: AIM