Tag Archives: President Guebuza

Mozambique – Local elections

On 20 November 2013 local elections were held in Mozambique. These were the first local elections since 2008. They are the last electoral test of party support prior to the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for October 2014?

The local elections are important because they took place amidst an outbreak of conflict between the ruling FRELIMO party of President Guebuza and the main opposition party, RENAMO. RENAMO wants reform of the electoral law, saying it is biased in favor of FRELIMO. Yet the government refuses to give in to RENAMO’s demands, prompting the latter to boycott the local elections.

Provisional results show that FRELIMO is leading in 50 out of the 53 municipalities. Interestingly, the country’s third-largest party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), made substantial gains in urban centres. MDM, a RENAMO breakaway party, founded in 2009, has considerable support within the educated youth population. Unofficial sources report that in the capital, Maputo, and Matola the party gained 39.78 per cent and 43.33 per cent of the votes respectively with 72 percent of votes counted. MDM retained its mayorships in Beira and Quelimane, Mozambique’s second and fourth largest cities respectively. In other municipalities, such as Zambezia, Sofala and Manica MDM lost by small margins.

Some observers predict that MDM will replace RENAMO as Mozambique’s main opposition party. Others believe that MDM’s electoral success may partly be explained by RENAMO’s absence from the local elections.

Despite this, FRELIMO remains unbeatable. The party came to power through the national liberation struggle and has been victorious in all elections since the end of Mozambique’s civil war in 1992. Yet the poor performance of the party’s candidates in Maputo and Matola – cities were the elite of Mozambique lives – may further complicate the selection process of its presidential candidate. President Guebuza has indicated that he will step down in 2014 but so far the party has not yet announced who its next presidential candidate will be. Daviz Simango, the leader of MDM and mayor of Beira, has announced his intention to join the presidential race.

Mozambique – Rescheduling Presidential en Parliamentary Elections

In Mozambique, President Guebuza announced that presidential and parliamentary elections that were scheduled for October 2014 will now take place in 2015.

The previous presidential and parliamentary elections took place in October 2009 and the Constitution provides for elections every five years. President Guebuza’s statement that they will be delayed seems to confirm rumours circulating in the media that Guebuza has no intention of leaving office.

President Guebuza was elected in February 2005 and cannot be re-elected as the Constitution prevents him from having a third term as the head of state. So far, the President’s party, the ruling Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO), has not appointed a new candidate for the presidential elections. Moreover, FRELIMO, under the total command of Guebuza, and with majority power in the assembly, could change Constitution allowing the current President to remain in office for another term.

Mozambique also still has to contend with heightened security concerns in the country, which could rise in the lead up to earlier municipal elections set for 20 November this year. This comes amid the raised tensions and increased confrontations with FRELIMO’s long-running rival, the National Resistance Movement (RENAMO), which has threatened to boycott and disrupt the polls.

RENAMO demands amendments to the electoral law, among other grievances. RENAMO’s main objection concerns the composition of the National Elections Commission (CNE). Under the current law each party appoints at least one CNE member and the appointments should be in proportion to the number of seats held in parliament. Yet, RENAMO demands “parity”, by which it means that FRELIMO can appoint 50 per cent of the CNE, with the other 50 per cent shared between RENAMO, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) and civil society. RENAMO now refuses to appoint its members of the CNE.

After five months of talk, at meetings usually held once, and sometimes twice a week, negotiations between delegations of RENAMO and the Government have reached deadlock. A rapid resolution of the political impasse is urgently needed as local elections are scheduled for next month.