Mozambique: MDM Hopes to Retain Control of Quelimane

Renamo supporters (file photo).

Maputo — The mayoral candidate of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) for the central city of Quelimane, Rogerio Warowaro, on Monday urged voters to go to the polls in the 10 October municipal elections and vote for the MDM in order to ensure "participatory and transparent management".

He said the size of the crowds he has attracted indicates that the MDM will emerge victorious on 10 October.

"The massive number of people here shows clearly that the MDM has already won the election", he said. "But we are explaining to the municipal citizens that they must turn up at the polling stations on election day. Let's all go and vote and once again put our trust in the MDM".

Only the transparent management promised by the MDM would make it possible to tackle the problems that still affect Quelimane, he said.

Among those problems was the poor state of sanitation in some of the markets he visited. He told vendors that "sanitation conditions are deplorable in the Bananeira market and damage the success of your business". He promised to solve the problem, if the MDM wins the election.

To which a reasonable retort might be: why didn't you do anything about it in the previous seven years? For the MDM won a mayoral by-election in Quelimane in 2011, and two years later the MDM won an absolute majority in the municipal assembly. Anything going wrong can be easily blamed on the MDM.

The MDM mayor, Manuel de Araujo, defected to the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, in June, and Renamo immediately made him its mayoral candidate. So Renamo too has some difficulty in complaining about the current state of Quelimane, since it can always be blamed on the man who is now the Renamo candidate.

Despite his switch in party allegiance, Araujo still claims he is the legitimate mayor of Quelimane - even though the government sacked him in late August. The government cited the 1997 law on the administrative supervision of municipalities which states that "office holders in municipalities shall lose their office if, after the elections, they join a party or list different from the one for which they presented themselves to the electorate".

Araujo appealed to the Administrative Tribunal, which has yet to rule on the matter. But the government's case seems unassailable - there is no doubt that Araujo won office in 2011, and again in 2013, on the MDM ticket, and equally no doubt that he has now joined Renamo.

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