Mozambique: Frelimo Condemns Threats of Return to War

Photo: Verdade
Renamo claims that extra ballot papers were given to Frelimo members during municipal elections.

Maputo — Mozambique's ruling Frelimo Party has condemned the implicit threat of a return to war made on Tuesday by Ossufo Momade, the interim coordinator of the political commission of the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo.

Addressing a Maputo press conference by telephone from Renamo's military headquarters in the central district of Gorongosa, Momade demanded that "the truth be restored" about the results from the municipal elections of 10 October, in order to avoid "a post election conflict".

He denounced the validation of the election results by the Constitutional Council, the country's highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law, as "a real farce", and demanded that Renamo's victory be recognised in five municipalities - Matola, Marromeu, Moatize, Alto Molocue and Monapo.

The Constitutional Council recognised that gross irregularities had occurred in Marromeu, and has ordered a rerun of the election in eight polling stations (the same polling stations that Renamo had protested against). The rerun will take place on Thursday.

The Council decreed that the ruling Frelimo Party had won in the other four municipalities - despite clear, independent evidence that, in reality, Renamo had won in Moatize, Alto Molocue and Monapo.

Nonetheless, Constitutional Council rulings are definitive and cannot be appealed against. Momade called for President Filipe Nyusi himself to intervene to reverse the Council's decisions, and for the creation of an independent commission of inquiry "to avoid another post-election conflict", but there is no provision in Mozambican electoral legislation for either of these proposals.

Reacting to Momade's demands, Frelimo spokesperson Caifadine Manasse said there was no justification for such threats.

"We are used to hearing such declarations from Renamo", he said. "They are the same old declarations, bringing threats into electoral procedures".

"This is a matter of concern for a country that wants definitive peace", added Manasse. Frelimo was in favour of democratic dialogue, and believed that Renamo should take the same position.

He called on Renamo "to do its part, to be consistent with the agreements that are being reached, for the good of peace, for the good of society and for the good of the development of Mozambique.

"The word 'conflict' should no longer be heard from the mouths of the people, it should no longer be heard from the mouth of Renamo itself", he urged.

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