Maputo — The leader of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), Daviz Simango, on Wednesday urged members of the party to do all in their power to ensure that the MDM establishes offices throughout the country.
Presenting the report on the party’s activities to the MDM’s first congress in the central city of Beira, he said the party’s finds itself in a difficult situation since in most provinces it does not possess offices of its own.
Simango thought it necessary for the party to find the resources so that gradually it can build its own premises. The task is far from impossible – he pointed to the example of various religious organisations which in recent years have built their own churches across the country.
Simango also reviewed the MDM’s electoral performance. It had stood in the 2009 general elections when the party was only five months old, and won enough votes to secure eight seats in the 250 member Mozambican parliament.
The National Elections Commission (CNE) only accepted MDM lists for four of the 13 constituencies, claiming that the other nine lists did not meet the requirements of the electoral legislation. Had the MDM managed to stand in several of the other constituencies, its parliamentary group would doubtless be considerably larger.
Simango himself was a candidate for the President of the Republic and won 340,859 votes (8.59 per cent).
In the municipal by-elections of December 2011, the MDM candidate for mayor of Quelimane, Manuel de Araujo, won with about 63 per cent of the vote.
Since Simango was already mayor of Beira, this meant that the MDM was running two of the country’s largest cities. The ruling Frelimo Party controls the other 41 municipalities, while what claims to be the largest opposition force, the former rebel movement Renamo, governs nothing at all.
Before the report was presented, the delegates approved the agenda and programme for the Congress, at a session chaired by Maria Moreno, the MDM’s unsuccessful candidate for mayor of the northern city of Cuamba, and a former head of the Renamo parliamentary group. Moreno broke with Renamo in 2009.
The MDM invited both Frelimo and Renamo to send delegations to observe the Congress. Frelimo accepted and was present on Wednesday with a delegation headed by Beira academic Emilio Come. Renamo did not accept the invitation, doubtless still smarting from the fact that most of the MDM leadership are former Renamo members.
The congress, like everything else in Beira, suffered from repeated power cuts throughout Wednesday. The MDM has resorted to a generator, but it is not working very well. The power cuts are caused by sabotage of the transmission lines which supply both Beira and Chimoio, capital of Manica province, with electricity. According to the electricity company, EDM, thieves attacked the line, and knocked down a pylon in order to steal meta parts, probably for sale to scrap metal merchants.
On Thursday, the congress will debate amendments to the MDM statutes and programme, and the strategy for the party’s participation in the 2013 municipal and 2014 general elations. Elections to the party’s leading bodies will be held, and everything indicates that Simango will be re-elected MDM President.