What if plans for a probable third term for Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi are still afoot? What if Nyusi still has a probable third term on his agenda and plans?
Well, a fortnight ago, the Renamo opposition party president, Ossufo Momade, presented Mozambicans with a different take on the district elections.
The President and Frelimo’s argument was that holding elections in all 154 districts was impractical.
In 2018, Nyusi and the late Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama, agreed that the country should hold district elections by 2024 to put an end to a low intensity armed conflict between government and Renamo guerilla forces. This was then enshrined in the constitution.
But political machinations by the ruling Frelimo party scuppered any such hopes, leading the Assembly of the Republic, the country’s parliament, to change the constitutional clause to postpone the elections sine die.
At the time, in April, an angry Momade called Nyusi two-faced. Fast forward to June, Momade is admitting that the impracticality of holding them in all districts, implicitly agreeing with Nyusi and Frelimo’s argument. And worse, he has reneged on his whole speech.
Momade’s tacit admission of the impracticality of holding district elections in 2024 comes with risks. Although the proposal to parliament suggests that the only amendment to the constitution is the ‘postponement clause’, there are still fears that Nyusi may still push for a change in the Electoral Law that would introduce either a third term or an Angolan-style electoral system (closed list), whereby voters elect the president and members of parliament simultaneously with a single ballot paper.
Failing to secure a third term constitutionally, Nyusi would then go for plan B.
For plan B, Nyusi would push for Fernando Faustino as his candidate to head the party into the 2024 general elections. A war veteran, Faustino is the current Secretary-General of Association of Veterans of the National Liberation Struggle (ACCLIN) and a member of Frelimo’s Political Commission.
Although he hails from Mozambique’s central region, he is married to Education Minister Carmelita Namashuluwa, who is of the Makonde ethnic group. Thus, Faustino could be palatable to the central region, should the regional roulette logic dominate, and the Makonde conclave could also accept him. Therefore, he would have everything the conclave needs and expects from a Nyusi successor.
The regional roulette logic is supposed to be an agreement Frelimo bigwigs made so that presidential power would rotate between Mozambique’s three regions. Nyusi is from the north and the logic dictates that Frelimo produces a presidential candidate from the central region.
Quo Vadis Frelimo?
Almost everything related to the succession saga has been said. However, it is extremely important for the Makonde conclave interests that power remains in the same hands, that is, in the same ethnic/regional group that will manage and continue to share the blessings and economic advantages of national opportunities, and not necessarily for the benefit of the party – that’s why the group still has many rabbits in the hat.
As it is, Frelimo’s fragility as a party is evident, such is the conclave’s grip on the levers of power to the despair of many members (founders and those that followed subsequently) in the face of the frightening deviation from the party’s ideals.
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