Frelimo on course for victory

Some have had enough, others just can’t get enough. Support for Frelimo, Mozambique’s ruling party since independence in 1975, was the issue when about 9,5-million voters went to the polls on Wednesday.

Among those wanting change was 30-year-old Lino Sumbane from Maputo, who told the Mail & Guardian: “I voted for the new party MDM [Movement for a Democratic Mozambique] and its presidential candidate, Daviz Simango.

“As mayor of Beira he cleaned up the city and created jobs, so he deserves a chance after all these years of Frelimo. Frelimo promises to work for the youth but nothing happens.
There’s no housing and the educational system is still bad.”
Ranked 172 of 182 states on the United Nations Human Development Index, Mozambique is among the world’s poorest countries. Despite this, Felix Tchabane still has confidence in Frelimo.

“It’s true that many of the party’s leaders think too much of themselves and spend a lot of money on flashy cars and clothes. But if Renamo or the MDM came to power they would eat even more of the cake,” said Tchabane, who cast his vote in Magoanine, a poor suburb of Maputo.

“Frelimo isn’t so hungry any more. It’s the only party capable of running the country and has a good plan for development.”
Maputo and the south are traditional Frelimo strongholds, as all its leaders come from the region.

Said 45-year-old Alcera Magaia from Marracuene, 40km north of Maputo: “I voted for Frelimo. Why? That’s what I’m used to.”

Further north, O Partido, as many call Frelimo, faces more competition. In Nampula province many have not forgotten the 1980s when Frelimo, then a Marxist party, forced the peasants to give up their plots and introduced collective farms.

“We can only thank God for Renamo, which forced Frelimo to give up Marxism and make peace in 1992,” said 47-year-old Malua Ussene. “Today Frelimo is just a bunch of liars. That’s why I voted for Renamo and its leader, Afonso Dhlakama, our king. He’ll change things.”

Dhlakama, backed by Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa during Mozambique’s civil war, has lost three consecutive elections. This time he’s likely to shed many votes to Renamo offspring, the MDM.

The incumbent president, Frelimo’s Armando Guebuza, is certain to win a second term and his party an absolute majority in Parliament.

Mozambicans are also electing provincial parliaments. The MDM stands a good chance of winning in the central province of Sofala, whereas Frelimo is certain to win the other nine provinces.

The elections have been smooth and peaceful, with only technical problems at a few of the 12 600 polling stations.

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