8 February 2014

Mozambique: Gurúè Is One More Locale "Liberated" By MDM

Maputo — "Frelimo has left our heart. We want to see what MDM will do", shouted a young man at the edge of the improvised STAE security perimeter during the voting at Gurúè Primary School. "Here in this neighbourhood there no electricity and we want a flour mill, but Frelimo never wanted to give it to us", he declared.

The declarations from young people became more dynamic as someone from inside would announce the results of each voting station. "We're here to control our vote," they said without showing much concern towards the overall result. They merely celebrated the confirmation of the belief that they did not fall short from achieving 'collective' cause to overthrow Frelimo and to put Orlando Janeiro and MDM in power.

Fears of violence erupting led young people to keep a cautious distance from the polling stations, but the scene remained calm. There was one attempt at ballot box stuffing which did not degenerate into violence because of quick police intervention. Frelimo managed to create some tension in the atmosphere by having militants circulate the polling stations without credentials, but it failed in its attempt to prevent thousands of Gurúè residents to exercise their right as citizens. The election results reflect the will of these people. This second election, which became known far and wide as "the elections of vengeance", had greater voter turnout that the first election held in November 20th, 2013.

The results flipped during this second election, where MDM candidate Orlando Janeiro obtained 7860 votes (55,16%) against 6389 votes (44,84%) for Frelimo cadidate Jahanguir Jussub. Frelimo received 6532 votes (46,16%) compared to 7623 votes (53,85%) for MDM (in the Municipal Assembly race).

Frelimo supporters drew attention to Orlando Janeiro's less-than-perfect Portuguese, labeling it as a defect. They forgot, however, that Orlando Janeiro campaigned for votes in the local language and proved to be a great speechmaker and spoke to the hearts of his countrymen. Jahanguir's polished Portuguese was not enough to convince the electorate to vote for him.

The single thing that Janeiro promised, in his 'disorderly' Portuguese, was to solve the area's water problem. He stated categorically that this will be his priority. Jahanguir promised much more. He started by talking about expanding the distribution and water supply system, rehabilitate and equip the aging urban schools, and to rehabilitate the soccer field. He even promised to reduce the tax to sell goods in the market .

In truth, Janeiro, who became a hero after the November 20th loss or 'theft' as many Mozambicans attest, had no opponent among the popular will, despite having promised the least. The challenge, as it was proved, was in the supervision of Voting Assemblies. Only then, during the placement of votes, could the firewood and coal vendors, essentially illiterate as to formal education, could succumb.

Janeiro won at every school voting station and his victory has been and continues to be celebrated with the support that he received from the periphery populations and civil servants.

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