Maputo — If elections were held today in the central Mozambican city of Beira, the ruling Frelimo Party would win with a margin of 80 per cent, boasted Domingos Jeque, the Sofala provincial secretary of Frelimo for organisation, mobilisation and propaganda at a press conference in the city on Sunday.
This would be a truly remarkable result, since Frelimo has lost every election (general and municipal) held in Beira since 2003. In the October 2018 municipal election, Frelimo only won 29 per cent of the vote. The leader of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), Daviz Simango, was re-elected mayor with 45 per cent. 24 per cent of the vote went to the former rebel movement Renamo.
Thus the opposition parties won a combined 69 per cent of the vote in Beira just a year ago. Yet Jeque believes that this can somehow be transformed into an 80 per cent victory for Frelimo.
"Our electorate is accepting our message positively, and in terms of our electoral weight, we feel comfortable", he said.
Beira elects 22 members to the Sofala Provincial Assembly - and Jeque believed that, if the election were held now, Frelimo would win 17 of those seats. He was also confident that the Frelimo candidate for governor of Sofala, Lurenco Bulha, will win.
"After 36 days of the election campaign, the population is really with Frelimo", he claimed. "The population banks on Frelimo, and the population will vote for President Filipe Nyusi and for Frelimo".
He denounced what he called "the sad situation" of the opposition parties, claiming that every day they were destroying Frelimo election propaganda. He accused the MDM in particular of getting young people drunk and sending them into city neighbourhoods to tear down Frelimo posters.
Jeque urged the other parties not to embark on a politics of hate, "because you don't govern a country with hatred".
Jeque did not explain how he reached his forecast of an 80 per cent Frelimo victory in an opposition stronghold. There are no opinion polls in Mozambique, and even if there were polls, it would be illegal to publish them during the campaign period.