Maputo — The opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) has disowned Sandura Ambrosio, a man suspected of financing the self-styled "Renamo Military Junta" - even though Ambrosio stood as a candidate for the MDM in the October general elections.
"He is not, and never has been, a member of our party", said the MDM's deputy head of information, Augusto Pelembe, interviewed in Wednesday's online edition of the independent daily "O Pais".
Ambrosio was a member of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, elected on the ticket of the main opposition party, Renamo, in the 2014 general election. He was also Renamo's Beira city delegate - until the new Renamo leader, Ossufo Momade, sacked him in February 2019.
A bitter dispute erupted, with Momade claiming the right to appoint Renamo delegates, while Ambrosio's faction demanded that they should be elected. Momade won this struggle and Ambrosio was evicted from the Renamo Beira office.
His loyalties then changed, and it was publicly announced that Ambrosio had defected to the MDM. Nobody had any reason to doubt this, since Ambrosio's name appeared on the MDM list of parliamentary candidates for Sofala province. Because of the MDM's poor results nationally, Ambrosio was not elected, but he is the MDM's second supplementary deputy for Sofala.
In November, six supposed members of the Renamo Military Junta were detained in Zambezia province - and they claimed that several Renamo parliamentarians, including Ambrosio, had been financing the junta. Prosecutors questioned all those named - but only Ambrosio was arrested, and he is currently in a Beira jail.
Clearly the allegation of a link between Ambrosio and the junta has led the MDM to distance itself from him, and deny that he ever joined the party.
Pelembe said that Ambrosio made it onto the MDM list of candidates "because the MDM is a party which opts for inclusion".
"He identified with the project of the MDM, which is to free the country from the regime which has ruled it for 44 years", Pelembe continued. "He wanted to be on the list to defend the national interests and so we opened the door to him. But he's not an MDM member".