Maputo — Mozambique's main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, is finally preparing to choose a successor to Afonso Dhlakama, who led the party for almost 40 years, from 1979 until his sudden death from diabetes last May.
According to Alfredo Magumisse, the spokesperson for the Renamo Political Commission, cited in Tuesday's issue of the independent daily "O Pais", a meeting of the Renamo National Council will be held in the central province of Sofala by the end of this month.
He said that about 100 people are expected to attend the meeting which will approve directives about how to elect the president of the party.
"The main point on the agenda of the National Council is the terms of reference for candidates for the post of president and for convening the electoral congress", declared Magumisse.
He added that the Renamo Political Commission urges all members and supporters of the party to stay calm and "to pay attention to all movements tending to create disturbances within the party".
Magumisse said that, in due course, the Political Commission, via the Renamo provincial delegations, will issue guidelines on the steps to be taken to hold the electoral congress. He also urged Renamo members not to discuss the party's internal matters on social media.
He added that Renamo is currently raising funds to hold the National Council meeting, and that so far nobody has announced their intention of standing for the Presidency of the party.
Nonetheless, three names have been mentioned repeatedly. One is Ossufo Momade, who is currently interim coordinator of the Renamo Political Commission, and is living at the main Renamo military base in the central district of Gorongosa.
Another possibility is the Renamo general secretary, Manuel Bissopo, although coming third in the race to be next mayor of Beira, in the 10 October municipal elections, may have dented his chances.
Finally, there is intense speculation that Dhlakama's younger brother, Elias Dhlakama, will run. The drawback he faces is that he has never held any position in Renamo, and for the past 24 years, he has been a senior officer in the Mozambican armed forces (FADM). He rose to the rank of brigadier, before asking to retire earlier this year.
His withdrawal from active military service was seen in some quarters as an indication that he intends to go after the Renamo top job