29 January 2014

Mozambique: Chaos Installs Itself in Frelimo

The process that culminated with the designation of José Pacheco, Alberto Vaquina and Filipe Nyussi as prospective Frelimo candidates for president in the general elections on October 15th continues to raise controversy within the party, which, albeit implicitly, see these three figures as a way to allow Armando Guebuza to continue to run the country even after he leaves power.

Last week, a petition supported by senior Frelimo members was made public. In this petition these senior political leaders denounce and contest serious irregularities that have been committed by the central organs of the party, of which one acuses the Frelimo Committee, which appointed the names of Vaquina, Pacheco and Nyussi as the sole prospective presidential candidates, as not allowing space for other candidates to be indicated.

These senior Frelimo leaders are of the opinion that some people connected to and directly benefitting from the reign of Armando Guebuza are destroying the party. The petition is their way of signaling the urgent need for the party to be saved from destruction.

The choice of prospective candidates

The signatories of the petition argue that the appointment of Alberto Vaquina, José Pacheco and Filipe Nyussi as prospective candidates crudely violates the statutes of the party and they require that the Verification Commission review and give its opinion on the subject.

They explain that the party's General Secretary, Filipe Paúnde, has no authority to state that there is no room for the indication of more candidates in addition to those proposed by the Political Commission because his decision is not of the party's, but instead only a statement from one of the party's appendages.

"These are proposals or draft decision of the Political Committee. It is not a party decision on an exclusive list of candidate to run for office, "said the document.

Thus, "the Political Committee submits its proposals directly to the Central Committee," but that doesn't give it authority to limit or restrict the actions of the Central Committee, since this organ may decide to consider other candidates submitted by its members.

Supporting impeachment, petition supporters state that "the decisions of the superior figures of the party are compulsory for the inferior figures to obey", which means that the Central Committee, as a body of Frelimo, literally gives orders to the Political Committee instead of the other way around.

However, this principle was totally and purposely ignored by Filipe Paúnd= e, who, before the emergence of social media movements in support of Eneas Comiche, Eduardo Mulémbwè, Luisa Diogo and Aires Ali as presidential candidates, tried to call a press conference to say that the three names proposed by the Political Committee to the Central Committee were final.

Steps ignored during the selection of prospective candidates

The document states that, apart from not respecting the hierarchy of the party structures, the Political Committee violated two fundamental principles that govern the process of nominating prospective candidates because:

First, the Central Committee instructed the Political Committee to approve a candidate profile, which should be then submitted for approval, but this was not done. The candidates were selected, but "not knowing what profile was utilized to select the designated candidates".

Second, the Political Committee rushed to announce the names of prospective candidates in the media without first submitting them for consideration by the Central Committee. This action "configures a serious disregard for the dignity of the Central Committee itself, because it is up to this body to receive the proposals firsthand."

Lessons for Paúnde

The petition goes further to draw attention to the fact that the Central Committee is not obliged to accept what information comes from the Political Committee, in this case the three prospective candidates. "The intent being that the Central Committee be bound to choose from the list proposed by the Political Commission would mean a reversal of the hierarchy, giving way to encroachment of governing bodies functions by underlings"

Paúnde's violations

Paúnde is seen by the signatories of this petition as someone who is promoting the systematic violation of statutes of Frelimo. In addition to having limited the number of candidates to three, he ordered the provincial committees to vet the candidates, which can only happen by decision of the Central Committee.

"The provincial committees do not have the competence to discuss what is of the competence of the Central Committee without their guidance and permission. In doing so, without a mandate from the Central Committee, the provincial committees are trying to enforce the decision of this body. They're putting it in place againts consumed facts, invoking a driven consensus. This is the consummation of the strategy of putting the cart before the horse ".

In the face of these facts, "there is no doubt that there is a flagrant and gross violation of the statutes of Frelimo. (...) The General Secretary and those responsible (for this violation) should be called to account."

The petition supporters warn that these constant violations could lead the party to slip into a situation of chaos and confusion, weakness and illegitimacy, which would subsequently call into question its own reason for existence.

Security of the country

It can be assumed in one of the excerpts of the document that its signatories are aware that Frelimo is not playing its role as a party which supports the government and the people of Mozambique. Mozambicans face several problems, such as crime, political-military tension, social inequalities, among others, but this political formation is more concerned with the image of its leader and President of the Republic of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza.

"The safety of people and property is threatened in our country. People die, they are not safe in their farms, in their houses, on the roads, in public places, whether in the countryside or in the city. Criminality installs itself and instability becomes widespread. Citizens clamour for an intervention from Frelimo, a party in which they always relied upon. The party that has the responsibility of governance ".

So, "Frelimo members consider that they must assume their responsibilities by listening to the feeling of society and by finding solutions for peace, whether in military plans, in an internal security plan, in restoring public confidence, or in establishing public ethics".

However, if Frelimo does not take measures to reverse this scenario, "there is no doubt that society will find ways to cope with the situation, without Frelimo or against Frelimo".

But this is not the only issue that concerns this group. The state of the party is being unsettled by actions which have gravitated around the essentiality of Armando Guebuza. "Frelimo members are concerned about the situation of their party because they are aware of the role that their party must play for rights and the interests of society. The interests of the party are those of its ideals and of the people. They are not interests of people, groups of people or individual members of the party. A party deserves to govern to the extent that respects the interests of the people".

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