Candidates backing ‘Samito’ Machel complain of Frelimo persecution


Would-be members of Maputo’s municipal assembly say they have been threatened with losing civil service jobs, or worse, if they don’t withdraw from the list of candidates headed by Frelimo rebel Samora Machel Junior.

Four candidates from the Association of Youth for the Development of Mozambique (AJUDEM) list have informed the electoral authorities that they want to withdraw, bringing the list of AJUDEM candidates to 66 – one too few to make the party eligible to stand. The National Election Commission (CNE) said on Tuesday that the four need to present a signed document that has been recognised by AJUDEM to be able to formally to withdraw.

AJUDEM spokesman Zefanias Langa said that some members of the 70-strong list have received death threats and had their houses burned. Elidio Mavume, a leading member of Frelimo’s youth organisation who is also on the AJUDEM list, told Zitamar he had lost his job over his support for Machel.

Another member, Gaspar Marques, was told by his boss at the Ministry of the Environment, Land and Rural Development (MITADER) that he must choose between his job and running in opposition to the ruling party, Frelimo, Langa said.

Overnight, AJUDEM’s offices in Maputo were broken into, and their archives vandalised, according to Borges Nhamirre, news editor of the Mozambique Political Process Bulletin.

Renamo warns CNE not to jeopardise peace

Meanwhile, opposition party Renamo said yesterday that the CNE should not jeopardise the reconciliation between it and the government by rejecting the candidacy of Venancio Mondlane from the Maputo mayoral race.

The MDM, Mondlane’s former party, protested against his candidacy on the grounds that he had renounced his seat in the municipal assembly in 2015 after being elected a member of the national assembly. Renouncing one’s seat in the municipal assembly excludes that person from running again the next time.

Renamo said it will appeal the decision to the Constitutional Council – which could overturn the CNE’s decision either on the basis that the new electoral law cannot be enforced retroactively; or that Mondlane did not technically renounce his seat, but was unable to keep it by virtue of having been elected to the national assembly.

Zitamar View: The Constitutional Council can probably justify a decision either way on Mondlane, so this will ultimately come down to how the CC is directed by Frelimo’s Political Commission – which will have to weigh up the possibility of losing the Maputo mayoralty against jeopardising the peace process with Renamo. That equation will also be heavily influenced by whether Samora Machel Junior is able to run at the head of the AJUDEM list.

Frelimo’s candidate Eneas Comiche can probably beat either Mondlane or Machel, but will struggle to beat both at the same time. Excluding Mondlane could mean a large youth vote migrates to Machel, as the new head of Renamo’s list would be retired general (and Petromoc director) Herminio Morais, who is unlikely to inspire the younger generation.

Machel’s perceived betrayal of Frelimo risks having major repercussions for the party, which is why Frelimo – or at least a part of Frelimo – is so desperate that it should not be rewarded with victory.

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