Maputo — The new Central Committee of Mozambique's ruling Frelimo Party has re-elected Filipe Paunde as the Party's General Secretary.
Paunde was unopposed and he was elected at the first meeting of the new Central Committee on Thursday night.
A second term of office as General Secretary became a certainty when Paunde won 1,438 votes (77.4 per cent of the delegates present) in Thursday's election of the Central Committee at the Frelimo Tenth Congress in the northern city of Pemba. Paunde proved to be the most popular candidate on his section (male members of the outgoing Central Committee seeking re-election) of the complex ballot paper.
The Central Committee also elected unopposed Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco as Secretary of the Verification Commission, the Frelimo disciplinary body. This is a post that had been held for the previous 20 years by Eduardo Mulembue.
Eight other members of the existing Political Commission were confirmed in their posts - Mulembue (who was also chairperson of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, from 1994 to 2009), Alberto Chipande (former defence minister), Eneas Comiche (former mayor of Maputo), Raimundo Pachinuapa (a prominent guerrilla commander during the war for independence), Margarida Talapa (head of the Frelimo parliamentary group), Veronica Macamo (current chairperson of the Assembly), Conceita Sortane (Frelimo secretary for cadres and training), and Alcinda Abreu (Environment Minister).
As in all Frelimo bodies, only 60 per cent of the Political Commission could be re-elected. The other 40 per cent must be new blood.
One member of the outgoing Political Commission, Teodoro Waty (head of the parliamentary Constitutional and Legal Affairs Commission), was not eligible for re-election, since he lost his seat on the Central Committee. Another, Manuel Tome (deputy head of the Frelimo parliamentary group) was not standing for re-election.
Those who failed in heir bids for re-election to the Political Commission included former prime minister Luisa Diogo, the Minister of Planning and Development, Aiuba Cuereneia, and the former general secretary of the Mozambican Women's Organisation (OMM), Paulina Mateus.
The meeting was adjourned because of the lateness of the hour and the tiredness of Central Committee members. It was scheduled to resume, to complete the election of the Political Commission, at 10.30 on Friday morning.