Mozambique: MDM Victory in Beira Confirmed

Polling station.

Maputo — The District Elections Commission (CDE) in the central Mozambican city of Beira, on Saturday evening announced the results from the "intermediate count" of the votes cast in Wednesday's election, confirming the victory of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).

The CDE Chairperson, Octavio Paulo, announced that 179,920 Beira citizens had voted, a high turnout of 64 per cent.

The MDM retained control of Beira with 45 per cent of the vote, with Frelimo taking 29 per cent and the former rebel movement Renamo 24 per cent.

The figures given by Paulo were:

MDM: 79,864 (45 per cent)

Frelimo: 51,079 (29 per cent)

Renamo: 42,874 (24 per cent)

This is a personal triumph for MDM leader Daviz Simango, who headed the list of MDM candidates and thus secures an unprecedented fourth term as Mayor of Beira.

Holding on to Beira comes as some comfort after an otherwise disastrous showing by the MDM. It started the year controlling four cities, and has now lost three of them. Nampula fell to Renamo in a mayoral by-election in March, and Renamo consolidated its position in that northern city on Wednesday.

The MDM had controlled Quelimane, capital of Zambezia province since 2011 - but the mayor, Manuel de Araujo betrayed the MDM, defecting to Renamo in July. Renamo eagerly snapped him up and promoted him to be the Renamo mayoral candidate. Araujo took most of the MDM voters in Quelimane with him to Renamo. In the fourth MDM-run municipality, Gurue, Frelimo beat the MDM by about 2,000 votes.

Nobody is contesting the MDM victory in Beira, and Frelimo and Renamo representatives both attended the ceremony announcing the results.

At a Beira press conference after the announcement, Frelimo Political Commission member Aires Aly declared that the party accepts the results.

"We accept the results because that's how democracy is", he said, cited by Radio Mozambique. "We know that we're doing well in Beira, and next time we will have better results"

He accepted that, to do better in future elections, Frelimo will have to improve its organisation in Beira, "but we have very strong encouraging signals. We felt that our support base in Beira has grown significantly, and it's a good basis for continuing our work".

He described as "exceptional" the work done by Frelimo's mayoral candidate in Beira, Augusta Maita, one of the few women standing for mayor for any party.

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