Maputo — Samora Machel Junior ("Samito"), son of Mozambique's first president, Samora Moises Machel, has accused the President of the ruling Frelimo Party, Filipe Nyusi, of "gross violation" of the Frelimo statutes, reports the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique".
Machel was replying to a recommendation from a disciplinary inquiry, in which the two rapporteurs (Francisco Cabo and Filipe Sitoe) said he should be expelled from Frelimo because of his behaviour during the October 2018 municipal elections, where he stood as the mayoral candidate of a civil society organisation, AJUDEM (Youth Association for the Development of Mozambique).
This pitted Machel Junior against the official Frelimo candidate, Eneas Comiche, a former mayor of Maputo and at the time of the election the chair of the parliamentary Plan and Budget Commission.
Machel had intended to run as the Frelimo candidate, and claims that, in the initial stages of the inner-party elections, he enjoyed the support of all the Frelimo urban district committees. But his name was removed, and the Frelimo Political Commission opted for Comiche as the candidate.
Machel responded by accepting the AJUDEM invitation to become the Association's mayoral candidate. But the National Elections Commission (CNE) disqualified AJUDEM because it did not have enough candidates to fill all the available places on the Maputo Municipal Assembly. AJUDEM officials retorted this was because pressure was put on its members to withdraw their names.
In his defence, against the disciplinary inquiry, Machel said he was the only one of the pre-candidates for mayor who met all the Party's requirements. Despite this, he was excluded, Neither Nyusi nor the Party's general secretary, Roque Silva, would give him an explanation.
Only then did he accept the AJUDEM invitation, because it had become clear to him that Frelimo and its top leaders were not complying with the party's own internal directives.
The main charge against Machel is that he violated an article in the Frelimo statutes which states that no Frelimo member "may be a candidate for any function of another party or organisations associate or dependent on them without the due authorisation of the competent Frelimo bodies".
Machel argues that this does not cover AJUDEM which is not a political party or an organisation associated with a party. "We didn't need authorisation", he claimed.
Machel also said he has proof that "electoral crimes" were committed to ensure that the CNE disqualified AJUDEM. The exclusion, he claimed, enjoyed "the blessing of the Frelimo leadership at various levels".
The Accusation from the disciplinary hearing also accused Machel of violating the statutory provision on "Freedom of Opinion and Criticism". The people who should really face this accusation, he retorted, are Nyusi and Roque Silva "for not allowing criticism, not stimulating dialogue, and not recognising the constitutional rights of members".
Machel widened the scope of his attack, claiming that Nyusi was guilty of a "gross violation" of the Frelimo statutes in Niassa, Nampula and Maputo city. The statutes say that party leaders are elected democratically by secret ballot - but the new interim Frelimo secretaries in Niassa, Nampula and Maputo city were not elected, but simply appointed by the Political Commission.
The Accusation against Machel also alleges that he failed in his duty to "defend national interests" and "promote and consolidate national unity". He described this as "a vile accusation", and suggested it was Nyusi who should prove that he has complied with these duties.
He called on the party's top disciplinary body, the Central Committee Verification Commission to check whether Nyusi is defending the party's internal cohesion and unity, and even suggested that Nyusi should be suspended for "serious violation" of Frelimo principles.
Machel warned that if he is expelled from Frelimo, this would have damaging consequences for the party's internal democracy. "After this expulsion, who should dare criticise the behaviour of leaders?", he asked.
This attack by the son of the country's first President against the current president can scarcely have come at a worse time as Frelimo gears up for the general elections scheduled for 15 October.
Machel's defence is likely to be considered at the next meeting of the Verification Commission, which could try to calm matters down. It is not likely to be discussed at the full Central Committee meeting, scheduled for May.