Elections over, time for lasting peace in Mozambique

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The long-awaited elections in Mozambique have come and gone and we commend the people of Mozambique for conducting these in a relatively peaceful manner.

As we report elsewhere in this issue, four countries in the SADC will hold national elections in October and November.  These are Mozambique, Botswana, Mauritius and Namibia.

Mozambique held its elections this week.  Next week, on 23 October, the people of Botswana will go to the polls. Mauritius and Namibia will go to the polls on November 7 and 27 November, respectively.

The elections will be observed by a number of local, regional and international organisations, including the SADC Electoral Observation Missions (SEOMs), which are expected to issue statements on the conduct of each of the polls.

Results of the elections in Mozambique, in which the people voted for president, parliamentarians and provincial governors, in the fifth multi-party national elections and the first time there will be the direct election of governors, were trickling in at the time of going to press, but the ruling Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) was expected to win.

A total of four candidates contested for the presidency. These included the incumbent, Filipe Nyusi of Frelimo, who has been president since 2014 and was seeking re-election for a second and last term as stipulated by the Mozambican constitution. Frelimo has won all elections since Mozambique gained independence from Portugal in 1975 and has a strong support base throughout the country.

Nyusi’s main challenger was Ossufo Momade of the former rebel movement, Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo). Momade took over the Renamo leadership in May 2018 following the death of long-time leader, Afonso Dhlakama.

The other two presidential candidates were Daviz Simango of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), and Mario Albino of the Action Party of the United Movement for Integral Salvation (Amusi).

The president is directly elected for a five-year term and the winning candidate is required to win 50 percent plus one of the valid votes cast. If no candidate wins more than half of the votes cast in the first round, then a second round of voting will be conducted and contested by the top two candidates. The candidate who receives the majority votes in the second round will be elected president.

In the last election held in 2014, Nyusi gained 57 percent of the ballots cast compared to 36.6 percent by the late Dhlakama.

As the results of this week’s election trickle in, we expect the people of the Mozambique to accept these, find each other and move the nation forward.   Mozambique has borne the brunt of armed conflicts over the past two decades and it is our hope that a new era beckons and that lasting peace will prevail.

The signing of a peace agreement between the government of President Filipe Nyusi and the former rebel movement, Renamo, early this year, should pave way for lasting peace in that country.  We urge the Renamo faction that has been agitating for violence to smoke the peace pipe with the country’s political leadership so as to move the nation forward.

It is our hope that the reported skirmishes and reports of violence in some areas will not mar the election. In any election, there are winners and losers.  But at the end of the day, it is democracy which is the winner. The mark of good leaders is seen by their acceptance of the result for nation building’s sake. 

Mozambique needs to fully exploit its vast natural gas deposits discovered in the Tete province for the people of that country and this can only be done in an environment of peace and tranquility. That is why we also condemn the so-called Islamic attacks in Cabo Delgado province which have the net effect of perpetuating conflict in the country.    

 The winners of this week’s election must thus be magnanimous in victory and there should be no room for vindictiveness. We expect the winner of the Mozambique poll to take on the responsibility of rebuilding and uniting his country.  Since the formation of Renamo as a rebel movement backed by the then apartheid South Africa and racist Rhodesian regimes to stifle the rear bases of liberation movements, the African National Congress and Zanu-PF, Mozambique has not known lasting peace.  Yet a united, peaceful and prosperous Mozambique is not only good for the SADC region, but the entire African continent.

We believe with peace in Mozambique, the people of that country will be able to concentrate on exploiting the abundant natural resources in that country and uplift their standards of living.

We urge political parties that lose to accept defeat with humility, go back to the drawing board to see where they got it wrong, and plan for the next polls.  There certainly must be no room for hate speech, disparaging the victors and the electoral commission and inciting supporters to go onto the streets.  The people of Mozambique have seen enough war and conflict and now is the time to rebuild the country.

The end of the elections period should signal serious work that needs to be done to move the nation forward and bring it up-to-date with other community of nations in the SADC region and elsewhere across the continent in terms of economic development.

The late Mozambican founding President Samora Machel died working for peace not only in his country, but the entire SADC region and as we commemorate his passing on this month, the people of Mozambique must honour this gallant fighter by ensuring that there is peaceful co-existence after the elections. It is only when there is peace in the country and the entire SADC region that people can focus on economic development.

We believe the people of Mozambique have had enough of these conflicts and should be given the chance to chart their own paths towards development.

 

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