Maputo — The ruling Frelimo Party received a major boost in the mayoral by-election in the northern city of Nampula on Saturday, when the family of the previous mayor, Mahamudo Amurane, who was assassinated on 4 October, publicly declared its support for the Frelimo candidate, Amisse Cololo.
Amurane was elected mayor in the municipal elections of 2013 on the ticket of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), but became involved in bitter disputes with the MDM leadership. Although he never formally resigned from the MDM, Amurane declared that, although he intended to run for a second term as mayor, it would not be as an MDM candidate.
Nobody has been arrested so far in connection with the murder of Amurane, but several Frelimo parliamentarians have publicly accused the MDM of responsibility for the assassination. The MDM retorted that only Frelimo would have anything to gain from the mayor's death.
On Saturday Cololo went to the Amurane residence, where he was received by Amurane's widow. In front of the television cameras, she pledged her “unconditional” support for the Frelimo candidate. She also expressed her anger at the use of her late husband's name by “other parties”, by which she was clearly referring to the MDM.
The Frelimo Central Committee Secretary for Mobilization and Propaganda, Caifurdine Manasse, who accompanied Cololo, said Frelimo will give all necessary assistance to the Amurane family. He asked the Nampula Provincial First Secretary of Frelimo to guarantee that the family would never be abandoned.
Manasse asked Cololo to ensure that, if he wins the election on 24 January, he will preserve and protect the legacy of Mahamudo Amurane and ensure that his work is continued.
There is nothing new about divided political loyalties in the Amurane family. The late mayor's sister, Adelaide Amurane, is not only a member of Frelimo, but also a Minister in the office of President Filipe Nyusi.
For his part, the MDM candidate, Carlos Saide, who was a Nampula city councilor under Amurane, has also pledged to uphold he legacy of Amurane. The spokesperson for the MDM campaign. Fernando Bismarque, interviewed by the independent television station STV, insisted that the advances made in recent years in Nampula were the result of Amurane implementing the MDM election manifesto.