Maputo — The Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) has denied press reports that the retired Archbishop of Beira, Jaime Goncalves, is the likely MDM candidate for mayor of Beira in the municipal elections due to be held by November this year.
The claim that Goncalves would be the MDM candidate was first floated on Sunday by the private television station STV, and then by its sister publication “O Pais”.
But at a press conference in Beira on Tuesday, the head of the MDM Mobilisation and Propaganda Department, Geraldo Carvalho, said that the MDM National Council, the body that will eventfully approve the list of party candidates for the municipal elections, has not even discussed the matter yet, and has not asked anybody to become a candidate.
Cited in the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”, Carvalho said “the MDM is an open party and its bodies function. So the reports giving the name of Jaime Goncalves as a candidate for the party in this year’s municipal elections in Beira are no more than pure speculation”
Furthermore, the Archbishop was not even a member of the MDM, though he might become one in the future if he so wished. He claimed that any party would like to have a respected figure like the Archbishop in its ranks.
Goncalves is best known for his role as one of the four mediators in the negotiations between the government and the rebel movement Renamo, which led to the 1992 peace agreement.
The current mayor of Beira is Daviz Simango, the founder and leader of the MDM. He was first elected on the Renamo ticket in 2003, but he was expelled from Renamo in 2008, and ran as an independent, easily defeating the candidates both of Renamo and of the ruling Frelimo Party.
There is no legal obstacle for Simango running for a third term. The law does not place limits on the number of times that mayors can stand for re-election.