Maputo — The ruling Frelimo Party last Friday became the first party to submit its nomination papers for the mayoral by-election in the northern Mozambican city of Nampula, scheduled for 24 January.
The Frelimo national election agent, Veronica Macamo, delivered the papers to the headquarters of the National Elections Commission (CNE) in Maputo.
The bulk of the documentation delivered by Macamo consists of 6,000 signatures from Nampula voters, supporting the Frelimo candidate, Amisse Culolo - almost twice as many as the number legally required (one per cent of the registered electorate)..
“We had more signatures, but we preferred to take just 6,000”, said Macamo, cited in Monday's issue of the independent daily “O Pais”.
Speaking to reporters, Macamo said she is confident that Culolo will win. “We feel that the people of Nampula are with Frelimo”, she said. “Victory is certain”.
Frelimo had controlled Nampula city up until the municipal elections of 2013, when the candidate of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), Mahamudo Amurane, swept to victory, and the MDM also won an absolute majority in the Nampula Municipal Assembly.
Macamo said that Frelimo has reflected on its 2013 defeat and guaranteed that the party is going into the by-election much better prepared. “In democracy, this sort of surprise is normal”, she said. “It's normal to lose this or that municipality. But just because we lost Nampula in 2013 doesn't mean we're going to lose it again”.
The by-election was precipitated by the assassination of Amurane on 4 October, a murder that is as yet unsolved.
Both the main opposition parties, the rebel movement Renamo and the MDM, have pledged to stand candidates, but have yet to deliver the nomination papers.