Maputo — Beira (Mozambique), 8 Sep (AIM) - In the central Mozambican province of Sofala, the ruling Frelimo party believes that the political environment is now favourable for "a historic victory".
The Frelimo spokesperson in the province, Martins Mapera, told AIM in Beira he believed that the Sofala electorate is with Frelimo, and this could be seen in the large attendance at Frelimo election rallies.
"The first week of our campaign was greatly enriched by the presence of the Frelimo presidential candidate, Comrade Filipe Nyusi", he said. He claimed that Nyusi's first rally, in the Chiveve stadium in Beira was attended by 25,000 to 30,000 people. There had been a similar mass presence in Nyusi's other Sofala rallies, in Buzi, Marromeu, Maringue and Nhamatanda districts.
At all his rallies, Nyusi had stressed his promise to provide work and jobs for young Mozambicans. "We know there is an enormous number of youths who have finished their training on various courses, but haven't found jobs", said Mapera. The President justified his stress on employment, he continued, "because in his first term of office he dedicated special attention to questions concerned with peace, and didn't have the opportunity to think about jobs"
Now that peace has been attained, added Mapera, the President thought it crucial to turn to questions of "development through work".
"The presence of the President was extremely positive", he said. "It was worth it that he banked on Sofala to launch the first stone of his campaign, because he tested the acceptability of Frelimo, knowing that Sofala has always been in doubt. But everything that was done, particularly the massive presence of people at the rallies, dressed in red, comforts us. We can think that the people of Sofala are with Frelimo".
A victory for Frelimo in Sofala would indeed be historic. This is a province that Frelimo has never won in a multi-party election, and is also the birthplace of the two main opposition parties, Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). At election after election in Sofala, Frelimo has announced that this time it will win - a prophecy that has yet to come true.
Mapera admitted there is still a great deal of work to be done in the province, particularly in electrification and in improving the road network. "We must pay attention to this in the next five years, because we know we're going to win the elections", he said.
"After the president left, the election campaign continued, said Mapera. "I have personally visited all the districts in the north of the province, and what I saw was total joy. We found a very active campaign movement",
"People are happy, and this happiness is caused by peace", he added, attributing the current peace to the dedication of Nyusi.
Mapera said that, while the campaign in Sofala was generally peaceful, there were problems, which he blamed on Renamo, in Cheringoma and Muanza districts.
"In Muanza, we have the problem that, in certain neighbourhoods Renamo does not allow the presence of other political forces", he said.
He urged all Mozambicans to embrace and "to re-invest ourselves as a people, as a society. Here in Sofala in particular, we need to build ourselves as brothers".