Renamo leader, Ossufo Momade, on Monday called Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi “two-faced.”
Momade was decrying what he considered Nyusi’s tearing of the constitutional text calling for district elections.
The Frelimo parliamentary group have just approved a bill changing the date for the announcement of the 2024 general elections despite Renamo protestations. This is significant because the change to the Electoral Law reduces the deadline for announcing the date of the general elections from 18 to 15 months.
Normally, Mozambican general elections are held in October. For the 2024 elections, the deadline for the announcement should be 15 April. But the Frelimo parliamentary group proposed to postpone the date to 15 July allegedly to give President Filipe Nyusi time to set up a commission to discuss the feasibility of the said district elections.
Although Frelimo is yet to tell Mozambicans about the real motivation for the change, observers have pointed out that changing the deadline will likely afford Frelimo an opportunity to amend the constitution without using opposition votes, which it cannot do before 12 June.
Two things are likely to happen: Frelimo will expunge from the constitution the text on holding district elections; change the presidential terms to allow Nyusi a further term or to scrap electing the president by direct popular vote.
Clearly, this has angered Momade who said that Nyusi by not respecting an agreement – for holding district elections in 2024 – reached with the late Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama, the former “reveals to be a person with two-faces, typical of someone who acts on bad faith.”
Momade also was not pleased that Nyusi failed to recognise Renamo as a partner in peace as he chaired two sessions of the United Nations Security Council.
Furthermore, he found it rich that Mozambique presided over the UN Security Council in a month when police had brutally cracked down on peaceful protesters in cities nationwide, which “endangered peace, reconciliation and the exercise of fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.”
For good measure, Momade said that Frelimo lacks the capacity to engage in dialogue, acceptance of others and cannot resolve the basic problems of the population.
Renamo has always seen the holding of district elections as a tool to the consolidation of the decentralisation process, meaning the devolution of power to local authorities, something which Frelimo is not keen to observe.
Clearly, Momade might have decided that a bromide was a better way of placating the growing murmurs of discontent within Renamo.
It is not clear what Renamo can do to curtail the power of Frelimo, and that is not done by calling on Nyusi to redeem himself before Mozambicans for “having whitewashed the country’s socio-political and economic,” as Momade said.
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