Maputo — The Political Commission of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) has confirmed the party's mayoral candidates for the October municipal elections in all 53 municipalities, with the exception of Maputo city.
The Political Commission met in Beira on Monday and Tuesday, and the spokesperson for the meeting, Luis Boavida, speaking to the independent television station STV, confirmed that all three of the MDM's current mayors will stand for a further term.
They are the party's president, Daviz Simano, in Beira, Manuel de Araujo in Quelimane, and Orlando Janeiro in Gurue.
The list of mayoral candidates for several of the other main cities is as follows:
1. Matola: Silverio Ronguane 2. Xai-Xai: Juliana Sitoe 3. Inhambane: Fernando Nhaca 4. Maxixe: Jose Siniquinha 5. Chimoio: Jose Ferrao 6. Nampula: Fernando Bismarque 7. Tete: Ricardo Tomas
But Tomas, who is an MDM deputy in the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, has refused to be the "head of the list" (i.e. mayoral candidate) in Tete. When STV pointed this out to Boavida, he seemed taken aback. "I don't know about that", he said. "What I do know is that he is the head of our list in Tete".
A letter from Tomas to the MDM Political Commission, dated 18 June, is now circulating on the Internet. In it, he says he is "not available" to be head of the list, despite the Tete MDM membership proposing him at a meeting on 3 June.
Tomas said he had serious reservations which he announced at the 3 June meeting. He had hoped the problems would be overcome by now "but they are prevailing up to today". Those problems, he said, included "lack of internal cohesion" and the existence of "two wings" in the Tete MDM delegation that were refusing to work together. Such problems "are weakening all the efforts undertaken by the members".
Tomas thanked the membership for their confidence in him, and does not seem to have resigned from the MDM - at least the letter says nothing about leaving the party.
In Maputo city, the membership twice proposed Venancio Mondlane (who is the rapporteur of the MDM parliamentary group) as the mayoral candidate. The first time, in October, Mondlane accepted, but when he decision was reaffirmed last week, Mondlane declared "I am not the head of the MDM list. I will not be and I do not want to be head of the MDM list. I am not the MDM's candidate for mayor of Maputo".
Boavida said Mondlane's decision surprised the membership since during the MDM Congress, held in Nampula in December, Mondlane "always showed that he was willing to collaborate".
The MDM was now waiting for Mondlane to submit in writing his refusal to be a candidate. Boavida argued that neither Mondlane's refusal to stand, nor the near simultaneous decision of Antonio Frangoulis (former head of the Maputo branch of the Criminal Investigation Police) to resign from the MDM meant that the party was in crisis.
He suggested that Mondlane and Frangoulis were embittered because they had not achieved their goals within the party. "The two of them rose to positions within the MDM in record time", he said. "They were convinced that they were the party's stars, and dreamed of higher positions, such as the job of General Secretary, or membership of the Political Commission".
When they failed in their ambitions, he claimed, "they said there's no democracy in the MDM".