Maputo — Mocuba (Mozambique), 16 Sep (AIM) - Ossufo Momade, the leader and presidential candidate of Mozambique's main opposition party Renamo, has reiterated his confidence in Renamo's choice for governor of Zambezia province, the current mayor of Quelimane, Manuel de Araujo.
Speaking at an election rally in the town of Mocuba, Momade declared "Manuel is not a scoundrel, he's not corrupt. He has clean hands, and for us he's the right man to govern Zambezia".
This declaration of confidence followed the circulation on the Internet of a document supposedly signed by Araujo, in which the mayor declares his intention of dethroning Momade so that he will become the Renamo candidate in the 2024 presidential elections.
Although it is written on Renamo headed paper, the document is almost certainly a forgery, intended to stir up tensions within Renamo.
Dated 1 September, it is addressed to Renamo district delegates in Zambezia. It declares that Momade "is a fraud and a burden for the party. Old age means that he is not contributing to the image of the party". (Momade is 58 years old, and thus two years younger than President Filipe Nyusi).
The letter says that Momade should use his time in office to deal solely with the question of demobilising the Renamo militia and reintegrating its members into Mozambican society, "while we think of another candidate for the 2024 elections, preferably a civilian, such as Manuel de Araujo, whose image we should begin to sell".
The letters urges the delegates "to save Renamo" and "to put aside the old man Ossufo Momade, who will only bring us disgrace".
Even if Araujo is thinking along these lines, he is far too politically experienced to commit such thoughts to paper and circulate them, particularly in the middle of an election campaign.
If Momade has seen this document, he clearly disregarded it, by giving a ringing endorsement of Araujo.
Earlier in the day, Momade visited a Renamo member, Aristides da Conceicao, who is recovering in Quelimane Central Hospital from an attack on 7 December in Derre district, when three unidentified assailants broke into his house and assaulted him and his wife, Raina Leao. Conceicao suffered serious head injuries, while Leao was injured in her left arm.
Conceicao is a teacher and the son of a prominent member of the ruling Frelimo Party, Ossufo Chale, a former mayor of the port city of Nacala, and currently administrator of Moma district.