Southern African News Features                                           SANF 09 No 36, October 2009
Guebuza: "Victory is assured with votes, not by words"
by Kizito Sikuka

President Armando Emilio Guebuza and his party look set to win the 28 October national election with favourable results expected in areas once considered strongholds of the opposition.

Other parties, weakened by the split within the main opposition, have restricted their campaigns to areas where they command a good following.

In the run-up to the elections to choose a President, and members of national and provincial assemblies, the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) has campaigned countrywide.

Successful rallies were held in areas such as Sofala province, which once housed the headquarters of the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo), and Maringue district, where the main opposition is regarded as a hegemonic force.

Dhlakama and Daviz Simango of the newly formed Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), which broke away from Renamo, are the other two presidential candidates who successfully filed nomination papers to challenge Guebuza, who is seeking election for a second and last term in office.

A total of 19 political parties will contest the parliamentary and provincial polls. The provincial elections are being held for the first time.

Only Frelimo and Renamo will contest in every constituency for the 250 seats in parliament, according to the National Elections Commission, after the two successfully filed nomination papers for all constituencies.

Mozambique uses an electoral system of Proportional Representation with provinces and main urban areas defined as parliamentary constituencies at national level.

President Guebuza has said while campaigning has been successful with large crowds attending his rallies, people should go out in their numbers to vote as "victory is only guaranteed with votes and not with words."

He said if re-elected for another five years, he will continue to tackle issues such as poverty and unemployment to ensure Mozambicans have a decent living.

"If today we have created the conditions to build schools, roads, hospitals, mobile phone networks, among other infrastructures, then tomorrow we can do much more," he said.

Dhlakama, who says he will quit politics if he loses the election, promises to fight corruption and end hunger.

Renamo’s 350-word manifesto pledges "the abolition of party branches in state institutions" and to promote peace and stability in the country.

Dhlakama has never won an election, losing three consecutive polls to Frelimo in 1994, 1999 and 2004.

Simango, the other presidential candidate, who was elected last year as Mayor of Beira, has promised to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) to stimulate trade.

He says if elected, he will modernize agriculture, promote rural trade and reduce unemployment.

He called for "real equality of opportunity" which would allow all citizens equal conditions of development.

At least 10 million people are registered to vote on election day, out of a population of about 18 million.

Regional and international observers monitoring the elections have described the pre-election period as "calm and quiet."

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Election Observer Mission (SEOM) led by the Zambian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kabinga Pande, has urged the country to maintain the peace during and after elections.

Pande added that the holding of elections in Mozambique shows the country’s quest to promote democracy and stability.

"The holding of the presidential, national and provincial assemblies elections in Mozambique signifies the value and importance the people of this country attach to the participation of the citizenry at all levels of decision-making in matters relating to their future destiny as well as the political, social and economic development of the nation," he said.

Some 40 observers from southern Africa had arrived in Mozambique by 16 October to observe the pre-election, election, and post-election phases.

The African Union and other regional and international organisations will provide the other observer missions.

A total of 12,694 polling stations have been set up.

In the last election in 2004, Frelimo won 160 seats and President Guebuza secured 64 percent of the votes.

The 28 October election will be the country’s fourth since the end of a civil war in 1992. Southern African News Features offers a reliable source of regional information and analysis on the Southern African Development Community, and is provided as a service to the SADC region.

This article may be reproduced with credit to the author and publisher.

SANF is produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), which has monitored regional developments since 1985

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