Maputo — Some residents of the town of Gurue, in the central Mozambican province of Zambezia, have publicly rejected the candidate proposed by the ruling Frelimo Party for mayor, and threaten they will not vote for him in the municipal elections scheduled for 20 November.
The new candidate is Jahanguir Hussena Jussub, elected by the Frelimo Gurue committee last weekend. He defeated the incumbent mayor, Jose Aniceto, in a closely fought contest.
The public rejection of Jussub came on Friday afternoon, at a meeting which the First Lady, Maria da Luz Guebuza, addressed, as part of a tour of Zambezia where she is assessing implementation of the government's programmes to reduce infant and maternal mortality.
But some of those who spoke at the meeting showed little interest in mortality rates. They were incensed at the Frelimo decision to jettison Aniceto.
Their main objection was that Jussub is not a native of Gurue. Aniceto was born in the municipality and his supporters said he deserved another term of office, because of his record in leading development initiatives in the municipality. They promised that they would not vote for Jussub
Some young people spoke to AIM after the meeting on condition of anonymity. Their remarks indicate a serious split in the ranks of Frelimo in Gurue. Supporters of Aniceto again insisted they would not vote for the new candidate - but supporters of Jussub were equally categorical and said that, if Frelimo were to retreat and reinstate Aniceto, they would not cast their votes for him.
Maria Guebuza called for respect for the Frelimo inner-party vote, pointing out that a secret ballot had already been held. She was sure that if the new candidate were to be elected in November, he would work in order to develop the municipality.
Reinstating Aniceto would clearly violate Frelimo's own internal democratic rules. It also looks impossible from a practical point of view, since the nomination papers for all candidates for the municipal elections must be delivered to the National Elections Commission (CNE) by 6 September.