RENAMO: Momade attributes internal conflicts to "undisciplined deserters"
Nampula candidate: Luis Trinta. [Photo: Sala da Paz]
Mozambique’s main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, has chosen two defectors from the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) as its candidates for governor in Zambezia and Tete province in the elections scheduled for 15 October.
Renamo chose its candidates on Friday and Saturday for the parliamentary and provincial elections.
In Zambezia, the current mayor of Quelimane, Manual de Araujo, won a crushing victory, despite the fact that he only rejoined Renamo less than a year ago. Araujo has made a habit of changing parties: in 2004 he was elected to the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on the Renamo ticket. But when Renamo split in 2008, leading to the formation of the MDM, Araujo went with the new party.
In 2011, he was elected Mayor of Quelimane in a by-election, as the MDM candidate, and repeated this victory in nationwide municipal elections in 2013. The MDM in Quelimane wanted to run him for a further term as mayor in 2018. But to their surprise, Araujo defected back to Renamo, and won the election as the Renamo candidate.
In the Friday inner-party election, Araujo won the votes of 27 out of the 30 delegates to the Renamo provincial conference. Jose Manteigas, the party’s national spokesperson, was humiliated, winning only the vote. Then third candidate, parliamentary deputy Maria Ines Martins, won no votes at all. A former Renamo general secretary, Viana Magalhaes, had expressed an interest in running, but dropped out.
The other MDM defector is Ricardo Tomas, who won a similarly overwhelming victory in Tete. There were two other candidates, Juliano Picardo and Celina Solane, who only picked up a handful of votes. Tomas was elected to parliament as an MDM deputy in 2014, but then switched his loyalties, running unsuccessfully as the Renamo candidate for mayor of Tete City in last year’s municipal elections.
Much to the MDM’s anger, Tomas still holds a parliamentary seat, despite a clause in the Mozambican legislation that people who change their parties automatically lose their seats. “The Assembly of the Republic does not want to implement the law and the Constitution”, one member of the MDM leadership exclaimed to AIM.
In Sofala province, Renamo chose Noe Marimbique, a former head of the Renamo group in the Beira Municipal Assembly as candidate for governor – but only after other potential candidates, notably Elias Dhlakama, younger brother of the late Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, had dropped out.
Dhlakama told reporters he had been taken by surprise by his nomination. He only knew of his nomination that same day, and did not even have time to inform his family. So he declined to stand.
Dhlakama stood against Ossufo Momade for the presidency of Renamo at the Party’ congress in January, and was defeated by 410 votes to 238.
In the most populous of the provinces, Nampula, Renamo chose Luis Trinta Mecupia as its candidate for governor. He claims to have joined Renamo during its war, in 1986. He was a Renamo parliamentarian, and head of the party’s national department of studies and planning. He also once served as the Nampula director of the publicly owned electricity company, EDM.
The Renamo candidate for governor of Maputo province is Antonio Muchanga, who won 26 votes from the 41 delegates, beating his two rivals, Jose Samo Gudo and Albertina Matavele. All three are deputies to the Assembly of the Republic – in fact, they are the only three Renamo deputies that the province elected in 2014.
In last year’s municipal elections, Muchanga ran for the post of Mayor of Matola, losing narrowly to the Frelimo candidate, Calisto Cossa, who was running for a second term. Muchanga insists that his defeat was due to fraud. He is also one of the Renamo appointees to the Council of State, a body that advises the President of the Republic.
For the northernmost province of Niassa, Renamo chose as its candidate Hilario White, who was head of the Renamo list for Niassa in the 2014 parliamentary elections.
For Cabo Delgado, Gaza and Inhambane provinces, the Renamo candidates are relatively unknown. They are respectively Maria Angelina Eduardo, Mouzinho Gama Gundurujo, and Daniel João Machamane.
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