Maputo — Venancio Mondlane, a prominent parliamentary deputy for the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), has categorically denied a report that he is about to abandon the MDM and stand as a candidate for the rebel movement Renamo in the municipal elections scheduled for 10 October.
The report appeared in Wednesday's issue of the pro-Renamo weekly “Canal de Mocambique”. This paper claimed that negotiations were at a “very advanced stage” between Mondlane and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama in order for Mondlane to head the Renamo list of candidates for the Maputo Municipal Assembly.
Under the constitutional amendments currently before the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, whoever heads the list of the victorious party in a municipal assembly will become the mayor.
“Canal de Mocambique” claimed that Mondlane had gone to Dhlakama's base in the bush of Gorongosa district, in the central province of Sofala, where he had received the proposal directly from the Renamo leader. The paper added that Dhlakama had given Mondlane “other guarantees that he could not refuse”.
But Mondlane has dismissed the report as a pack of lies. On the Facebook page of the MDM parliamentary group, Mondlane said he was not in any sort of negotiation with Dhlakama, and he had never gone “political mountain climbing” in the hills of Gorongosa.
It is, however, true that Mondlane was not re-appointed to the MDM Political Commission at the meeting of the MDM National Council held in Beira last weekend.
Mondlane is one of the best known public faces of the MDM. At the last municipal elections, in 2013, when he was the MDM candidate for mayor of Maputo, he scored a spectacular result, in what had previously been regarded as an impregnable fortress of the ruling Frelimo Party. Mondlane did not win, but he took almost 40 per cent of the vote, and slashed the Frelimo majority in Maputo from 85 to 58 per cent.
In October last year, the MDM Maputo membership endorsed Mondlane as the party's candidate for mayor of Maputo in the forthcoming elections. He is still the only confirmed candidate for this year's municipal elections from any of the parties.