Maputo — The first congress of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) has re-elected the mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango, as the party’s president.
Simango was elected, unopposed, in the small hours of Saturday morning, after a second potential candidate, Laurinda Machava, was ruled out because she was nominated past the deadline.
In the election Simango won 661 of the 676 votes cast. There were also 14 invalid votes and one blank ballot.
In his speech made on taking office for a five year term as President of the MDM, Simango said his re-election was the result of the trust deposited in him by the party’s members, through the Congress delegates.
Describing the MDM as “a party for all Mozambicans”, Simango said “we have proved that we are a party committed to the building and consolidation of democracy. We are a great family and we are growing by the day. A family which has shown that it is possible to overcome differences through dialogue”.
Simango added that the MDM has taken on the mantle of modernity, and is the only Mozambican opposition force which has shown that it can be an alternative to the ruling Frelimo Party in governing the country.
“This wasn’t given to us on a plate”, he said. “It is the fruit of a lot of hard work and dedication by all members of the party”.
“We have reached this stage with the certainty that new paths are opening up for the construction of a free and democratic Mozambique”, he declared, “A Mozambique for all”.
The MDM’s elections began on Friday with the election of the 60 strong National Council, the highest body of the party in between Congresses. The delegates worked through the night, and only broke for breakfast and a rest at 06.00 on Saturday.
Earlier, the Congress in a lengthy, and apparently heated, discussion behind closed doors had rejected proposals for any coalition in the 2013 municipal elections. Armando Cuna, a delegate from Maputo city, argued in favour of a coalition, on the grounds that the MDM is still very weak in some of the country’s 43 municipalities.
The opposite position, strongly argued by MDM parliamentary deputy Geraldo Carvalho, was that the MDM should stand its own candidates in every municipality. He believed the MDM already has enough committed cadres for a national presence, and there was no need for any coalition.
Simango did not intervene in the debate, other than urging delegates to debate the matter seriously.
The Congress spokesperson, Sande Carmona, told reporters that the majority of the delegates disagreed with the MDM entering into any coalition.