Mozambique constitutional crisis evaded, opposition in limbo


Mozambican and FRELIMO President Filipe Nyusi, congratulates his successor, Daniel Chapo

from ARMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
Mozambique Bureau
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – BY confirming a new candidate for the next presidential election, the ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) has curtailed a crisis that could have emanated from President Filipe Nyusi running for an unconstitutional third term.

FRELIMO, which has led the Southern African country since 1977, two years after independence from Portugal, has ended the speculation by naming Daniel Chapo as its candidate for the elections scheduled in October.

While the governing party has settled for Chapo as its contender, for the main opposition Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO), the identity of its candidate remains up in the air and a source of tension.

“With the election of its candidate for president, FRELIMO took an important step to prepare for victory in the October elections. We must focus on preparing the process for him (Chapo),” Nyusi said after the recent election of his successor.

Chapo, who is currently the governor of the southern Inhambane Province, secured 94 percent of the internal vote.

A law graduate, he has emerged as a surprise winner because he has never held a position in cabinet. He has been governor since 2016.

Congratulating Chapo (aged 47), Nyusi conceded the election ended months of uncertainty he would hold on to the presidency of the party and force a third term.

He has been in power since 2015.

“The soap opera of speculation ends, including speculation about a third term,” he told delegates in the capital, Maputo.

While the ruling party has brought finality to its succession issue, uncertainty prevails in RENAMO.

Ossufo Momade has led RENAMO the at-times rebel movement since the death of its founder, Afonso Dhlakama, in 2018.

His term expired in January but he has expressed interest in re-election at an elective congress scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday next week.

The runup to the internal elections has not been without controversy.

RENAMO has disqualified Venancio Mondlane from the race of the party’s presidency, citing he has not been a party member for the requisite 15 years. He reportedly joined in 2018.

Mondlane, the losing mayoral candidate for RENAMO in Maputo, has been the face of the resistance by the party against alleged electoral fraud in 2023.

He has denounced his disqualification as illegal and continues his bid for the presidency. He has a vast following.

Other candidates are Dhlakama’s brother, Elias Dhlakama, and niece, Ivone Soares.

The country of over 34 million people is at a crossroads. While beset by escalating Islamist insurgency, Mozambique is on the cusp of an economic boom following the discovery of gas reserves.

– CAJ News

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