The 11th Congress of Mozambique’s ruling party, Frelimo, will be the most significant since the party’s first Congress held in exile in Tanzania 55 years ago, according to General Alberto Chipande, hero of Mozambique’s war of liberation and a close ally of President Filipe Nyusi.
Addressing party members in Tete province on Saturday 10 September, Chipande said the Congress – to be held in the southern city of Matola from 26 September to 1 October – will be “a congress of change,” adding that it “will bring innovations that equal those of the 1st Congress,” when the party was established in Dar Es Salaam by unifying various independence movements.
Chipande’s visit to Tete was part of a nationwide mission last weekend by senior party figures to rally provincial members behind President Nyusi’s agenda for the Congress – which could ultimately lead to a painful handover of power to opposition Renamo in provinces like Tete.
Zitamar understands that Nyusi has agreed to Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama’s demand for directly elected provincial governors at the next national elections, in October 2019. Dhlakama said recently that he expects to sign an agreement to that effect by the end of November.
Frelimo has set five themes for the six-day Congress. As well as the usual ‘economic and social development’, and ‘the organisation and functioning of the party’, the 3,500 delegates will also address questions of ‘National unity, peace, democracy, and national reconciliation’; and ‘The state, decentralisation, and governance ethics’.
Chipande and his colleagues from Frelimo’s Central Committee appear not to have addressed the question of provincial elections directly – but the message to the provinces is one of greater inclusion and political plurality.
In Sofala, another Renamo heartland but also the home of third party MDM, Frelimo’s First Secretary, Paulo Majacunene, told Zitamar News that the party Congress will discuss ideas that will affect Mozambicans beyond the party.
“We believe that the work we do [at the Congress]will have an impact on the life of the whole people” of Mozambique, he said.
General Chipande – who, following Nyusi’s election in 2014, said Frelimo will rule for another 50 years – told his audience in Tete on Saturday: “I call this the Congress of Change.”
“The country, in fact, needs change,” he said. “For that reason, it’s irreversible.”
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