Mozambique: Venancio Mondlane Barred From Running for Renamo Presidency

Maputo — The National Council of Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, has effectively prevented Venancio Mondlane, the Renamo candidate for mayor of Maputo in last year's municipal elections, from running for the Renamo presidency at the party congress, scheduled for mid-May.

In the early hours of Monday morning, the Council approved a profile for candidates for the inner-party election. Only those who fit the profile will be allowed to stand as candidates to succeed Ossufo Momade as party leader.

Among the requirements in that profile is that any candidate for the Presidency of Renamo must have been a member of the party for at least 15 years.

This immediately excludes Mondlane, since he only joined Renamo in 2018. Previously he was a prominent member of the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).

Asked by reporters if this requirement had been included simply to disqualify Mondlane, the Renamo spokesperson, Jose Manteigas, denied the allegation, and said the same requirement had been included in the previous meeting of the National Council.

Mondlane himself was not present at the meeting. Manteigas said this was simply because Mondlane is not a member of the National Council.

On Sunday morning a group of youths claiming they are Renamo members who support Mondlane demonstrated in favour of Mondlane outside the hotel where the Council was meeting. They were eventually dispersed by Renamo security.

There were immediate claims that the youths had nothing to do with Renamo, and had been sent by the ruling Frelimo Party to disrupt the Council meeting.

Prominent Renamo parliamentarian Antonio Muchanga told reporters that he did not recognize any of the youths and did not believe they were Renamo members.

Another blow to Mondlane's ambition to lead Renamo came the association of Renamo war veterans. These demobilized former guerillas told the National Council meeting that they regarded Mondlane's behavior, particularly dragging Renamo through the courts, as "shameful and scandalous'.

"We have closely followed the events of recent days in which one member of Renamo has taken the party to court, an act which scandalizes and shames us and demoralizes our entire struggle', said Victor Viandro, the Chairperson of the Association of Veterans of the Struggle for Democacy (ACOLDE), cited in Monday's issue of the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique'.

He considered Mondlane's behavior (although he never mentioned him by name) as "an affront to the blood shed by many of our brothers during the 16 years of struggle and revolution'.

The Renamo that Mondlane had joined "exists thanks to us, and so we want to warn him to stop his attacks, because he shouldn't play around with us'.

Renamo members should show each other "mutual respect', he added, and those who did not like this principle, could always leave the party.

Viandro also asked for authorization to "educate' Mondlane and anyone else who criticized Momade. "We have a remedy to cure them, if you authorize us to use it', he said.

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