Maputo — The elections on Friday to the Political Commission of Mozambique's ruling Frelimo Party, towards the end of the Party's Tenth Congress in the northern city of Pemba, have produced a double upset, with both the current Prime Minister, Aires Ali, and his predecessor, Luisa Diogo, failing to keep their seats on the Commission.
The 17 member Political Commission is the executive body of the Central Committee.
The 195 strong Central Committee only meets two or three times a year, but the Political Commission meets every week and is thus effectively the most powerful Frelimo body.
Three people sit on the Political Commission ex oficio - the President of the Party (Armando Guebuza), the general secretary (Filipe Paunde) and the secretary of the Frelimo disciplinary body, the verification commission (Jose Pacheco).
The Central Committee elects the other 14 members on the principle, applied to elections throughout Frelimo, of "continuity and renewal" - which means that 60 per cent of the members are re-elected, but 40 per cent must be new blood.
For the "continuity" section, eight places were available on the Political Commission - four for men and four for women. The election was simplified, in that one member of the outgoing Commission, Teodoro Waty (chair of the parliamentary Constitutional and Legal Affairs Commission), lost his seat on the Central Committee on Thursday, and so was no longer eligible to sit on the Political Commission. A second member of the outgoing Commission, Manuel Tome (deputy head of the Frelimo parliamentary group), announced that he was not standing for re-election. That left 12 people standing for eight places.
Those victorious were: Veronica Macamo (President of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic), Margarida Talapa (head of the Frelimo parliamentary group) , Alcinda Abreu (Environment Minister) , Conceita Sortane (former Central Committee secretary for training and cadres), Alberto Chipande (former defence minister and the man who fired the first shots in Frelimo's war for Mozambican independence), Raimundo Pachinuapa (a prominent guerrilla commander in the war), Eduardo Mulembue (former chairperson of parliament) , and Eneas Comiche (chair of the parliamentary plan and budget commission, and former mayor of Maputo).
Those who lost their seats, in addition to Ali and Diogo, were Paulina Mateus (a former head of the Mozambican Women's Association, OMM), and Aiuba Cuereneia (Minister of Planning and Development).
Both Ali and Diogo had been mentioned in the media as possible Frelimo candidates for the 2014 presidential election. Losing their seats on the Political Commission may prove a blow to any such hopes.
However, as long as Ali remains Prime Minister, he will continue to attend Political Commission meetings, but without the right to vote.
The election of the "renewal" component of the Political Commission did not occur until Friday afternoon, and the results were announced to the Congress that evening, giving the number of votes each candidate achieved.
Of the six seats available, four were reserved for men and two for women.
The results were as follows:
1. Alberto Viegas (governor of Tete province) - 133 votes (71.89 per cent)
2. Sergio Pantie (outgoing Central Committee secretary for organisation and Frelimo election agent in the municipal by-elections held in December and April) - 112 votes (60.54 per cent)
3. Carvalho Muaria (governor of Sofala province) - 110 votes (59.55 per cent)
4. Cadmiel Muthemba (Minister of Public Works) - 97 votes (52.43 per cent)
1. Esperanca Bias (Minister of Mineral Resources) - 133 votes (71.89 per cent)
2. Lucilia Nota Hama (governor of Maputo City) - 130 votes (70.27 per cent).
The unsuccessful candidates were:
1. Hermenegildo Infante (Frelimo first secretary in Maputo City) - 91 votes (49.18 per cent)
2. Edson Macuacua (Central Committee secretary for mobilization and propaganda) - 63 votes (34.05 per cent)
3. Damiao Jose (spokesperson for the Frelimo parliamentary group) - 41 votes (22.16 per cent)
4. Antonia Charre (a Frelimo parliamentary deputy) - 77 votes (41.62 per cent).
The full membership of the new Political Commission is thus:
1. Armando Guebuza
2. Filipe Paunde
3. Jose Pacheco
4. Veronica Macamo
5. Eduardo Mulembue
6. Margarida Talapa
7. Alberto Chipande
8. Alcinda Abreu
9. Raimundo Pachinuapa
10. Conceita Sortane
11. Eneas Comiche
12. Alberto Vaquina
13. Sergio Pantie
14. Carvalho Muaria
15. Cadmiel Muthemba
16. Esperanca Bias
17. Lucilia Nota Hama
The Central Committee also elected its new secretariat, in charge of the day-to-day running of the Party. Here there were just seven candidates for seven places.
They were: Sergio Pantie, Damiao Jose, Edson Macuacua, Carmelita Namashalua (Minister of State Administration), Aida Libombo (former Deputy Minister of Health), Carlos Moreira Vasco (a member of the Standing Commission of the Assembly of the Republic) and Jose Tomo Psico (director of the Mozambique Tourism Institute, INATUR).