Maputo — The Maputo City Elections Commission on Sunday announced the "intermediate count" from the municipal election held last Wednesday, confirming that the ruling Frelimo Party will remain in control of the Mozambican capital.
The Commission chairperson, Ana Chemane, announced that 389,302 citizens had cast ballots, a turnout of 63.14 per cent.
Frelimo kept control with 57 per cent of the vote, slightly less than the 58 per cent it achieved in the 2013 municipal elections. Those elections were boycotted by the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, and as a result opposition votes in 2013 were concentrated on the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), which won 40 per cent.
This time, with Renamo returning to municipal elections, the MDM vote collapsed to just over five per cent, and Renamo took over 36 per cent.
The figures announced by Chemane were as follows:
Frelimo: 214,103 (56.95 per cent)
Renamo: 136,947 (36.43 per cent)
MDM: 19,269 (5.13 per cent)
The remaining one and a half per cent of the votes were divided among nine minor parties and groups.
This result is still provisional, in that it has yet to be confirmed by the National Elections Commission (CNE) and validated by the Constitutional Council, the country's highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law.
The head of the Frelimo list of candidates for the Municipal Assembly, Eneas Comiche, now becomes Mayor of Maputo. He has held this post before, from 2004 to 2009. He was widely praised for his performance as Mayor and particularly for his strong stand against corruption.
Apparently this did not please everyone, for, although Comiche wanted to run for a second term in the 2008 municipal elections, Frelimo did not select him, and opted instead for the former Minister of Youth and Sport, David Simango, who has been Mayor of Maputo for the past ten years.
Over this period, Comiche has largely concentrated on his parliamentary duties. He is currently chairperson of the parliamentary Plan and Budget Commission. He will have to resign from parliament, since a parliamentary seat is incompatible with municipal office.
Speaking to an audience of about 200 members and supporters of Frelimo after the announcement of the results, Comiche promised to comply with the election manifesto which led him to victory.
"The municipal citizens banked on my experience, and I thank them for this vote of confidence", he said.
In an oblique critique of the current Municipal Council, Comiche added "now let's roll up our sleeves, and change the way this city looks. Let's transform Maputo into a beautiful and prosperous city".
"We now have a great responsibility of putting our manifesto into practice", he said. "We want to count on support from everybody, including the media, who will help spread our messages and carry out civic education work so that we really know how to live together properly in the city".
Although Frelimo enjoys a comfortable majority in the Municipal Assembly, Comiche promised to discuss the content of his municipal programmes with members of the other parties.
He invited his political opponents to contribute with ideas that might be useful to serve the residents of Maputo. Aspects of the opposition parties' election manifestos might be incorporated into Frelimo's governance programme, Comiche said.