Maputo — Raul Domingos, once the number two in Mozambique's former rebel movement Renamo, on Thursday launched his bid to become President of the Republic in the elections scheduled for 15 October.
Domingos was head of the Renamo general staff during the war of destabilisation, and then headed the Renamo delegation that negotiated the 1992 peace agreement with the government. From 1994 to 1999, he was head of the Renamo parliamentary group in Mozambique's first multi-party parliament.
But in 2000 he fell out with Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama and was expelled from Renamo. He then set up his own party, the Party for Peace Democracy and Development (PDD). Briefly, this was the third force in Mozambican politics.
In the 2004 presidential election, Domingos came third, but with only 2.73 per cent of the vote. The PDD was also in third position in the parliamentary elections of that year, with two per cent of the vote. This was not enough to win any seats in the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.
Subsequently the PDD has been eclipsed by the rise of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). In 1999, Domingos was barred from standing from the presidency because he was unable to collect the requisite 10,000 valid signatures from registered voters. Currently the PDD has no representation at either central or local level.
For this year's campaign, Domingos has formed a coalition with 11 other minor parties, known as the “Party for Peace and Democracy/Alliance for Democracy” (PDD/AD).
The other members of the coalition, apart from the PDD, are:
1. PRD - Democratic Renewal Party, which was a member of the Renamo-Electoral Union coalition between 1999 and 2009.
2. PDLM - a new party, and AIM must admit that we do not know what the acronym stands for.
3. PACODE - Democratic Congress Party
4. CDU - United Democratic Congress
5. PLDM - Free Democratic Party of Mozambique
6. PSM - Socialist Party of Mozambique
7. PEMO - Ecologist Party of Mozambique, also once a component of the Renamo-Electoral Union
8. PCM - another new party, and we do not know what the acronym means
9. PAREDE - Democratic Reconciliation Party
10. UNAMO - Mozambique National Union
11. PARTONAMO - Party of all the Nationalists of Mozambique.
With the exception of the PDD itself, all these parties are invisible. They have few members and fewer votes. They have no offices, no publications and no websites.
The spokesperson for the coalition, Antonio Palange, head of the CDU, was once a member of parliament. He was one of the leaders of PALMO (Liberal and Democratic Party of Mozambique), which was a component of the Democratic Union (UD) coalition which won nine seats in the 1994 election, only to lose them all in 1999. The CDU resulted from a split in PALMO and has never made any impact.
Cited in Friday's issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Palange said the new coalition has decided unanimously that Raul Domingos will be its candidate for the October election.
“We are choosing a figure who cultivates values of peace and national reconciliation and who is profoundly involved in the struggle for the development of the country”, said Palange. “We believe that many Mozambicans see themselves reflected in the figure of our candidate, who will do everything to build a prosperous nation in our country.