CCTV’s Julie Scheier is in Mozambique covering the election, this is her report on the latest developments in the country:
Since late October and after more than 20 years of peace, the ruling party Frelimo and former rebel group Renamo have engaged in sporadic fighting in the Sofala province reviving painful memories of the devastating civil war of 1975-1992.
No Mozambican wants to return to war, that is probably why the queues at the polling stations were so long on wednesday. Schools were turned into polling stations and opened at 7 am sharp. There were long queues in the 4 polling stations I visited. Municipal elections have generally had low voting turnouts in the past, but this year people kept telling me that they thought there were more people. They said they were coming to vote because they want change, especially peace.
Frelimo, has been victorious in all elections since the end of Mozambique’s civil war in 1992, and it looks as if they are set once again for a convincing win. Especially after Renamo’s decision to boycott these polls arguing that election laws needed to be changed. However, there is a new political party that is taking advantage of this political instability and is stepping into the gap. The Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) is an opposition party created 5 years ago that is gaining more and more support in urban areas. In Maputo, MDM put up a fight with less than 20 percent of the votes counted, incumbent Frelimo mayor, David Simango heads with 58 percent versus 42 percent for the MDM candidate Venancio Mondlane.
From the four polling stations I visited on Wednesday everything was orderly and peaceful, but voters told me that things weren’t as calm in Beira, Mozambique’s second largest city and where the opposition MDM has its strong hold.
Ballots are still being counted, but preliminary results show that Mozambique’s ruling party Frelimo, is leading in these municipal elections. But, there has been a shake up and the country’s new opposition MDM has shown that they are a serious contender for next year’s presidential elections.”