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As expected, Mozambique’s main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, on Wednesday announced that its mayoral candidate for Maputo, in the municipal elections scheduled for 10 October, is Herminio Morais.
He takes over from Venancio Mondlane, whose second appeal against disqualification was rejected on Tuesday by the Constitutional Council, the country’s highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law.
Morais is a former Renamo general, and was an adviser to the late Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama. He is a member of the National Defence and Security Council (CNDS), the body that advises President Filipe Nyusi on security matters. Since May, he has been a non-executive director of the publicly-owned fuel company, Petromoc.
Morais had been number two on the Renamo list of candidates for the Maputo Municipal Assembly, and at a press conference on Wednesday the Renamo election agent, Andre Majibire, confirmed that he was now head of the list, and hence will become mayor if Renamo wins the election.
But Mondlane will still be deeply involved in the Renamo campaign: Renamo has appointed him as spokesperson for its Maputo campaign, to capitalise on his supposed popularity in the city.
In the last municipal elections, in 2013, Mondlane took 40 per cent of the mayoral vote in Maputo – a much better result than any previous opposition candidate had ever obtained in the capital. But then he was running on the ticket of the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), and part of his appeal was certainly that the MDM was seen as a third force, distinct from both Renamo and the ruling Frelimo Party.
Now that Mondlane has defected from the MDM to Renamo, it is not clear how much of his 2013 support he can transfer to Morais.
Magibire claimed that Mondlane was the victim of “political persecution”, even though the judge appointed by Renamo to the Constitutional Council, Manuel Franque, agreed with the four other judges, to reject, on legal grounds, the appeal against Mondlane’s disqualification.
“This harassment will continue”, claimed Majibire, “and the Mozambican people know what they have to do to end the harassment”. He urged the electorate “to take revenge at the ballot box”.
Morais said he was confident of a good result for Renamo. “I have been prepared from the start”, he said, “since I have been part of the list, and it is up to all members of the list, to be prepared, and to work hard and together so that we can be victorious in the Maputo municipality”.
Source: AIM / Miramar
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