Maputo — The mayor of Beira and leader of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), Daviz Simango, on Saturday urged the citizens of Beira to re-elect him in Wednesday's municipal elections, so that the work the MDM has done in the city can continue.
Addressing a large rally that wound up the MDM's Beira campaign, Simango accused the ruling Frelimo Party of neglecting the city in the period between independence in 1975 and the first time he was elected as mayor, in 2003.
He stressed the work Beira Municipal Council has done in improving the city's drainage and launching housing programmes. Simango admitted that many roads in Beira are in poor condition, but added that under the MDM many new roads had been built in the city "which didn't even exist in colonial times".
On Sunday, Simango made a positive balance of the campaign, praising the overall peaceful environment. The two week campaign period had been sufficient, he said, to sound out the concerns and needs of the citizens of Beira.
Among the requests from citizens, he added, there stood out demands for more drainage channels, and for more jobs.
Although the Saturday rally was said to mark the end of the MDM campaign, Simango opted to undertake more door-to-door canvassing on Sunday.
Simango has already been in office as mayor for 15 years, and is standing for an unprecedented fourth term. There are no term limits on mayors, though some voices have been raised during this campaign suggesting that the law should be changed to limit mayors to two consecutive terms of office.
Frelimo and its mayoral candidate, Augusta Maita, ended their Beira campaign with a motorcade through the city's streets, ending in Independence Square, where the closing rally was held.
The spokesperson for the Frelimo campaign, Manuel Severino, claimed that the electorate "have shown that they are with Frelimo".
"On the ground our work took place in an orderly and peaceful manner", he said, "Frelimo members have shown maturity and party discipline, in not responding to provocations from opposing parties. We focused on publicising our message, and did not get involved in clashes".
He claimed that Frelimo (by which he presumably meant the central government) had made major investments for the well-being of the people of Beira. He expected "a resounding victory" for Frelimo next Wednesday.
All such forecasts are wild guesses, since there are no reliable opinion polls in Mozambique. The election law bans the publication of any opinion poll results during the campaign period.