Maputo — Nampula (Mozambique), 27 Nov (AIM) - Both Mozambique's ruling Frelimo Party and the rebel movement Renamo on Saturday chose their candidates for the mayoral by-election in the northern city of Nampula, scheduled for 24 January.
The 75 members of the Nampula district committee of Frelimo voted unanimously for Amisse Culolo, who was the only candidate. Culolo is a university teacher, and the director of the Nampula Provincial Assembly.
The Renamo candidate is Paulo Vahanle, who is a teacher by profession, and is currently a deputy in the national parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.
Renamo General Secretary Manuel Bissopo told AIM in Nampula that Vahanle was a “consensual choice” among Renamo members in the city.
“He's well known in Nampula. He's a serious and competent teacher, who deserves the confidence of the Renamo leadership”, said Bissopo.
Both Bissopo and Vahanle believe that Renamo will win the by-election. “We've a lot of things to solve, such as the problem of rubbish collection, particularly in the peripheral neighbourhoods and the access roads. I'm confident of victory”, declared Vahanle.
The by-election was precipitated by the assassination of mayor Mahamudo Amurane on 4 October. The crime remains unsolved, and the police have yet to charge anyone with the murder.
Renamo boycotted the last municipal elections, in 2013, and so the elections, in Nampula as in every other municipality, were essentially a two horse race between Frelimo and the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).
Amurane ran on the MDM ticket, but serious and very public disputes broke out between the Mayor and the rest of the MDM leadership. This even led some Frelimo deputies in a parliamentary debate earlier this month to accuse the MDM of responsibility for the murder of Amurane - although there is no serious evidence for this at all.
The MDM has yet to announce its candidate for the by-election, though there is speculation that it will choose Fernando Bismarque, once a journalist on the independent television station STV, and currently a member of the MDM parliamentary group.