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Manuel de Araújo (centre, in grey) and his supporters, during the demonstration on Wednesday.
Police in Zambézia have tried unsuccessfully to break up a demonstration by supporters of the banned Renamo candidate Manuel de Araújo in the provincial capital.
Police in Quelimane fired live rounds during a march that began around 1:00 p.m. at Quelimane airport, after Araújo disembarked from a plane from Maputo. No one was injured, and despite some panic among Araújo’s supporters, the march resumed, traversing several city neighbourhoods on its way to Renamo district headquarters.
“We are here to compete”
Manuel de Araújo, Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM) mayor of Quelimane, lost his mandate by decision of the Council of Ministers for having presented himself as candidate in the next elections on behalf of Renamo.
After the incident on Wednesday, Manuel de Araújo told DW Africa categorically that he would run as a candidate for the largest opposition party in the 10 October municipal elections. “We are here to compete, we registered to compete, we believe in the democratic rule of law in Mozambique and this was a march in support of my candidacy,” he said.
Araújo said the march also expressed solidarity with Maputo residents who had seen the names of Venâncio Mondlane (Renamo) and Samora Machel Junior (independent) removed from the electoral race by decision of the Constitutional Council and the National Elections Commission.
“This is a march of struggle and of the reaffirmation of democracy in Mozambique,” Araújo said, still convinced of his potential for victory in the electoral process. “Renamo is the only opposition party in Mozambique capable of standing up to Frelimo.”
The political climate in Zambezia province has been tense in recent days, with the heads of some political parties reporting death threats and harassment.
The new MDM candidate in Quelimane, Rogério Warowaro, says that he has had “his heart in his hands” as a result of being sought by the Criminal Investigation Police for allegedly invading Frelimo headquarters in Quelimane during voter registration.
Frelimo confirmed that it had filed a complaint, with Frelimo secretary Alige de Morais, explaining that “there was an exchange here between young people affiliated with the Nicoadala and Quelimane Mozambican Youth Organisation (OJM) and MDM youth. They invaded our headquarters, stating that they had come to register[to vote]”.
“The Frelimo party headquarters is not a voter registration station. We referred the case to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the process is underway and we are waiting for the trial,” Morais explained.
Meanwhile, the head of Frelimo’s list in Gurué’s municipality, José Aniceto, asked for police protection this Wednesday because, he says, he is being threatened by a group of MDM members in the town.
“These MDM members are writing songs defaming Frelimo and the head of list. I am not afraid and I am free,” he says.Deutsche Welle
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