Frelimo calls for no violence in elections campaign

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Maputo – Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party has urged all residents in the country’s 53 municipalities to behave in a peaceful manner during the official election campaign, which began on Tuesday, and avoid the violence between supporters of Frelimo and of opposition parties that had marred the 2014 general elections.   

The Frelimo Central Committee spokesperson, Caifadine Manasse, told reporters at a Maputo press conference: “We want this campaign crowned with a civic attitude, so that it consolidates still further the process of constructing democracy.”

He said Frelimo hopes that the campaign will take place in a festive atmosphere “and that we all do our part so that Mozambique prospers, and sets an example in elections and election campaigns”.

Asked what new strategies Frelimo has to retake the four municipalities that are under opposition control (Nampula, Beira, Quelimane and Gurue), Manasse claimed that Frelimo is going into the campaign “more united and cohesive, and we are, above all, tranquil”.

“Frelimo is tranquil because Frelimo is in favour of maintaining and consolidating the institutions of state,” he said. Frelimo had accepted its defeat in those four municipalities, and regarded the defeat “as a lesson that has galvanised us to work to recover those municipalities that are currently governed by the opposition”.

Contrary to Manasse’s optimism, Frelimo is far from united. In August, the party suffered a potentially damaging split when a Central Committee member, and son of Mozambique’s first President, Samora Machel Junior (“Samito”), broke ranks, and attempted to run for mayor of Maputo as an independent.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the Zambezia Provincial Elections Commission in central Mozambique, Emilio Supelo, declared on Monday that the main responsibility of candidates in the municipal elections scheduled for 10 October is to mobilise voters to ensure a high turnout and reduce the number of invalid votes cast.

Speaking in the provincial capital, Quelimane, at a meeting with representatives of political parties and civil society organisations, Supelo also urged the competing parties and candidates, during the official election campaign that began on Tuesday, to respect the code of conduct that the parties have signed , as well as the general norms for tolerance and mutual respect.

“We appeal to the competing forces to use the campaign period to raise the awareness of voters so that they take part massively, going to the polling stations to claim their citizenship rights, and reducing the levels of abstention and of invalid votes that have occurred in previous elections,” said Supelo.

Only with a high turnout will elections have the value they deserve, he stressed. 

“Abstentions devalue elections,” he warned.

The first multi-party elections, held in 1994, were characterised by a very high turnout. But in subsequent elections turnout has declined, sometimes to alarmingly low levels. Thus turnout in the 2014 parliamentary elections was only 43.9 per cent.

Turnout varied among municipalities in the 2013 local elections, but was only 42.6 per cent in Quelimane, and 42.5 per cent in Zambezia’s second largest municipality, Mocuba.

Supelo urged parties and candidates to collaborate with the local authorities and the police, informing them of the events they plan to hold and the routes of their motorcades.

Echoing an appeal made in Maputo by Abdul Carimo, chairperson of the National Elections Commission (CNE), Supelo urged candidates not to use state assets in their campaigns, and not to mobilise children for campaign activities.

- AIM.

 

 

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