Four presidential candidates and 27 political parties will be on the ballot contesting in the Mozambique general elections which will be held next week on the 15th of October.
This is the first contest without historic opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama, and the first to elect provincial governors.
The election of the provincial governors is a novelty resulting from the approval of a new decentralisation package in the context of negotiations for the Maputo Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement, signed on the 6th of August this year.
The current President of the Republic and Frelimo leader, Filipe Nyusi, is hoping for a second term and is campaigning on the promise of jobs for the youth. The leader of the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), Ossufo Momade, the leader of the Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM), Daviz Simango, and the candidate of the Extraparliamentary Action Party of the United Movement for Integral Salvation (AMUSI), Mario Albino, are the four hoping to inhabit the Ponta Vermelha, official residence of the head of state.
Mozambique has held five general elections since the end of the civil war in the early nineties.
Mozambique’s president and the leader of country’s main opposition group signed a new peace accord Tuesday, pledging to end years of violence and work toward peaceful elections in October.
The signing of the Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement in the country’s capital, Maputo, by President Filipe Nyusi and Ossufo Momade, the leader of the Renamo rebel group, followed their signing of a similar agreement to cease military hostilities. That took place in Gorongosa National Park in central Mozambique a week earlier.
The new pacts called for the immediate disarmament and reintegration into society of more than 5,000 rebels. Some Renamo officers were to take up leadership positions in the military, but only a few rebels turned in their arms. Mr. Momade said they would participate peacefully in the country’s elections on Oct. 15.
As part of the negotiations, Mozambique’s legislature amended the country’s constitution so provincial governors will be elected, rather than appointed by the ruling party. It is expected this change will allow Renamo to win a few provincial governor positions in central and northern areas where it has support.
The two agreements resulted from years of negotiations to bring an end to sporadic violence that has persisted since the end in 1992 of a bloody, 15-year civil war in which an estimated one million people died. Another peace agreement was signed in 2014, but violence sporadically flared up.
Portugal, which was the colonial power in Mozambique until its independence in 1975, has supported the country’s peace negotiations, and Portugal’s Foreign Secretary, Teresa Rebeiro, attended Tuesday’s signing ceremony in Maputo’s central Peace Square.