Maputo — Mozambique's main opposition party, the rebel movement Renamo, on Tuesday registered to take part in the municipal elections scheduled for 10 October.
The Renamo national election agent, Andre Magibire, submitted the required documents to the National Elections Commission (CNE), which promised to notify him, if any irregularities are detected.
Magibire told reporters he believes that all Renamo's documentation is in order. He declared that Renamo will compete in all 53 municipalities, and was confident that it will win in most of them.
He added that Renamo has adopted "a new strategy" to eliminate electoral fraud, but did not give any details of this strategy. Renamo claims that all previous Mozambican elections have been fraudulent, right from the first multi-party general elections in 1994. None of the domestic or international election observation groups spotted the generalised fraud that Renamo alleges.
So far there are no names of any Renamo candidates. Magibire said conferences will now be held across the country to choose the candidates for the municipal assemblies. Under the constitutional amendments passed last month by the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, there will no longer be any separate elections for mayors. Instead the head of the list for the municipal assembly of whichever party or group wins the majority of votes will become mayor.
Asked if Venancio Mondlane, currently the rapporteur for the parliamentary group of the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), will be head of the Renamo list for the Maputo municipal assembly, Magibire would neither confirm nor deny this rumour. He said the relevant Renamo bodies have not yet taken a decision on the matter.
Mondlane is one of the most high profile figures in the MDM, and the MDM Maputo membership has twice voted overwhelmingly for him to become the party's mayoral candidate. But Mondlane, who has fallen out with MDM president Davis Simango, on Saturday categorically refused to be an MDM candidate. This has fed speculation that Mondlane intends to defect to Renamo.
Renamo boycotted the 2013 municipal elections, with the result that there is not a single Renamo member in any of the municipal assemblies. It has now abandoned its boycott and won the mayoral by-election in the northern city of Nampula in March. The victorious Renamo candidate, Paulo Vahanle, must now work with a municipal assembly that is dominated by the MDM.
Like Renamo, the ruling Frelimo Party has also not yet announced any of its candidates. The head of the Frelimo brigade in Maputo city, Margarida Talapa (who is also head f the Frelimo parliamentary group), told a Tuesday press conference that the heads of the Frelimo lists for the municipalities should be known in the first fortnight of July.
Frelimo will elect its candidates at conferences in all the provinces, "and we shall probably have our candidates by 9 or 10 July", she said.
All parties, coalitions or independent groups of citizens wishing to run in the municipal elections must register with the CNE by 29 June.
Between 30 June and 2 April, the CNE will consider the names, acronyms and symbols of the parties or groups to ensure that they are valid, and cannot be confused with the names or symbols of other parties.
Parties and groups must submit their lists of candidates between 21 June and 27 July.